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How to File With the Texas Workforce Commission for Unemployment Benefits



 

Introduction

The unemployment insurance program of Texas provides temporary financial assistance to those who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. If you are deemed eligible, you will receive a weekly benefit payment of $58-$392, depending on what you earned in the previous months.

What is "unemployment compensation"?

Unemployment compensation is a government program that pays benefits to unemployed or part-time workers who are searching for work. The benefits are based on what you earned before you quit working, and usually last up to 26 weeks. The money comes from a tax paid by most employers. The Texas Workforce Commission runs this program.

 


Can I get unemployment compensation?

The best way to find out if you qualify is to check with the Workforce Commission. You can get unemployment compensation if you worked enough time in the year or so before you apply for benefits AND you are able to work, available for work, and actively looking for full-time work UNLESS (1) you were fired from your last job for misconduct OR (2) you voluntarily quit without "good cause." If you have a health condition that kept you from working in the last year and a half, but you are now able to work, give the Commission proof of this from your doctor. If you find part-time work, you can still get part of your unemployment check while you look for a full-time job.


Step 1: Determine Whether You Qualify

To be eligible to receive unemployment insurance, you must have earned enough wages and must have been separated from your last job through no fault of your own. Although the specifics of individual cases vary slightly, to qualify to receive unemployment you must have:

1. Earned a a specific wage during a recent 12-month period

2. Left your last job because of one of the following circumstances:

a. Were laid off because of a lack of work

b. Had the amount of hours you work reduced by your employer

c. Were fired for any reason other than work-related misconduct

d. Quit your job due to a documented medical condition

e. Quit your job with good cause as determined by the Texas Workforce Commission


Step 2: Apply for Benefits

You can apply for unemployment insurance online through the Texas Workforce Commission website or by phoning any of the six offices or a toll-free number between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. To complete your application, you will need:

1. Your most recent employer's full business name and address

2. The day you started working for your previous employer

3. The last day on which you worked for your previous employer

4. Your regular wage at your most recent job

5. The number of hours and wages earned during the week in which you are applying (if applicable)

6. Your Alien Registration Number (if applicable)

Step 3: Check the Status of Your Claim

Once you have applied for Texas unemployment insurance benefits, you can check on the status of your claim online or by phoning a local office or toll-free number.


What is "work-related misconduct"?

"Work-related misconduct" involves serious misbehavior that you knew or should have known could get you fired. Often, misconduct involves violations of an employer's policies about issues like absenteeism or work procedures.

Some examples of misconduct include: missing work without properly notifying your employer, using the employer's supplies or services without permission, lying to the employer, disobeying direct orders by a supervisor, and refusing to cooperate with co-workers.

Common reasons for termination -- such as inability to do the job, unsatisfactory performance, bad attitude, or personality conflicts -- are not necessarily "misconduct" and might not disqualify you from getting unemployment benefits. Some examples of behavior that is not misconduct include:

* Missing work or coming in late for an unavoidable reason or with permission from the employer
* Respectful disagreement with the supervisor
* Looking for other work on your own time
* Objecting to mistreatment by the employer
* Filing for worker's comp or unpaid wages
* Accidentally damaging property
* Refusing to work on certain days or to perform certain duties due to religious practices known to the employer
* Failing to work because of a medical problem
* Refusing to do something illegal
* Asking for clarification of conflicting orders
* Being unpopular with co-workers
* Participating in a union
* Refusing to submit to a lie detector test

You can also defend yourself by showing that you could not prevent what happened, or that you acted in response to wrongful acts by your supervisor.

Among the most difficult cases for an employer to win is the kind involving a discharge for poor work performance. The reason is that even if the employer presents the basic evidence for a discharge case, such as firsthand testimony about a specific final incident of misconduct and evidence that the claimant knew his job was in jeopardy, the employer can still lose if the situation looks like one of "inability" on the claimant's part.

Many employers are surprised to learn that under the law, mere inability to satisfy an employer's performance standards is not misconduct connected with the work. Disqualification is allowed only if the situation leading to the discharge was within the claimant's power to control. As long as the claimant was doing his best, failure to do even better was beyond his control.

Most employers lose these cases by loosely using terms such as "inability", "incompetence", "never was able to do the work right", "made constant mistakes", and so on. Terms such as these are like red flags to claim examiners and appeal hearing officers, who may get the wrong impression from the start and put all the evidence against the claimant into the "inability" category.




What is "good cause" for voluntary quitting?

Some reasons that can be "good cause" for quitting include: not getting paid wages or overtime, harassment by supervisors or coworkers, major changes in your job that make your job worse, unsafe working conditions, and unfair discipline. Before you quit, you must tell your employer about the problem (preferably in writing or with a witness present) and give the employer a chance to fix it. Also, if you can prove that you quit to avoid being fired, your employer will have to prove that you committed "work-related misconduct."

How do I apply for unemployment compensation?

Write out a statement explaining why you lost your job. Go to the nearest Texas Workforce Commission office, ask to file for unemployment compensation benefits, and give them your written statement. Be cooperative, and be sure to give truthful, complete, and consistent information about your situation. Give the Commission copies of any documents that back up your story. Always keep copies of your statement and the other documents you give the Commission, in case the Commission loses your papers or claims you said something different. NOTE: You will have to reapply for benefits every two weeks while you're out of work.

Carefully read over the booklet that you get when you apply. Make sure to look through the sections on "special circumstances" and "special programs." These tell you if there is anything about your situation that would allow you to get better benefits or training.



Is there a deadline to apply?

No, but it makes sense to apply right away. If you wait to apply, you will not get paid for time that has already passed, and your weekly benefits may be smaller than if you had applied right away. If you wait too long, you might not get any benefits at all. Remember, you must reapply every two weeks.



What happens after I file my claim?

Someone at the Workforce Commission (the "claims examiner") will look at your claim to see if you should get unemployment benefits. The claims examiner may call and talk to you or your employer about why you left your last job. (Take careful notes of any conversations you have with the claims examiner.) If you are not a U.S. citizen, the Commission will contact INS to verify your Alien Registration Number.

In two to four weeks, you will get a letter (called an "initial determination") that tells you whether or not the Workforce Commission thinks you should get the benefits. If the Commission thinks you should get benefits, you will start to get checks based on what you earned in your "base period." Your employer has 14 days to appeal the decision. If the employer appeals, you will get a letter telling you about a hearing about your claim. Meanwhile, you will continue to get checks as long as you reapply for benefits every 2 weeks.

If you are denied benefits, you have 14 days to appeal the "initial determination." If you appeal, you will get a letter telling you the date and time of the hearing. You will not receive a check unless you win the appeal, but you should keep reapplying for benefits while you're waiting. NOTE: The deadline to appeal runs from the day the determination letter is mailed, not from the day you get the letter. If you miss the deadline, immediately file your appeal and explain why you were late.

If you start getting checks, don't forget about the income tax. Even though the government does not deduct any taxes from your benefit check, you still have to pay federal income tax. It is a good idea to pay taxes quarterly. For information about what forms to file, contact the IRS at (800) 829-1040.


Conclusion

If you have unexpectedly lost your job and are deemed an eligible recipient, the unemployment insurance benefits provided through the Texas Workforce Commission may be just the assistance you need to tide you over until you can find another job. If you have questions about your eligibility or the application process, contact the Texas Workforce Commission.

 
 
 
 
 

 

Additional Information provided by Terri Levine.

 

 

 
 
 
Disclaimer: The information presented in these pages is for educational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice.
Every case is different, and the correct legal answer always depends on the facts of the individual case. If you want a legal opinion
about your own employment law problem, you should seek help from a licensed attorney.
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You are able to file unemployment with the Texas Workforce Commission from any of these cities listed below in the State of Texas:

* Abbott * Abernathy * Abilene * Ackerly * Addison * Adelphi * Adrian * Agua Dulce * Alamo Heights * Alamo * Albany * Aledo * Alice * Allen * Alleyton * Alpine * Alton * Alvarado * Alvin * Amarillo * Ames * Amherst * Anahuac * Anderson * Andrews * Angleton * Angus * Anna * Anson * Antelope * Anton * Appleby * Aquilla * Aransas Pass * Archer City * Arcola * Argyle * Arlington * Arp * Asherton * Athens * Atlanta * Aubrey * Austin * Austwell * Azle * Bailey's Prairie * Bailey * Baird * Balch Springs * Balcones Heights * Ballinger * Balmorhea * Bandera * Bangs * Bardwell * Barrett * Barry * Barstow * Bartlett * Bastrop * Bay City * Baytown * Bayview * Bayou Vista * Baytown * Beach City * Bean Station * Beasley * Beaumont * Beckville * Bedford * Bedias * Bee Cave * Beeville * Bellaire * Bellevue * Bellmead * Bells * Bellville * Belton * Benavides * Benbrook * Benjamin * Bertram * Beverly Hills * Bevil Oaks * Big Lake * Big Spring * Big Wells * Bishop * Black * Blackfoot * Blackwell * Blanco * Blanket * Blossom * Blue Mound * Blue Ridge * Boerne * Bogata * Bolivar Peninsula * Bonham * Boonville * Bootleg * Borger * Bovina * Bowie * Brackettville * Brady * Brazoria * Brazos Bend * Brazos Country * Breckenridge * Bremond * Brenham * Briaroaks * Bridge City * Bridgeport * Brookshire * Brookside Village * Browndell * Brownfield * Brownsboro * Brownsville * Brownwood * Bruceville-Eddy * Bryan * Bryson * Buda * Buffalo * Bulverde * Bullard * Bulverde * Bunker Hill Village * Burkburnett * Burke * Burleson * Burnet * Byers * Cactus * Caddo Mills * Caldwell * Callisburg * Calvert * Cameron * Camp Wood * Campbell * Canadian * Canton * Canyon * Hill * Carmine * Carrizo Springs * Carrollton * Carthage * Cashion Community * Castle Hills * Castroville * Cedar Hill * Cedar Park * Celeste * Center * Center City * Centerville * Chandler * Channelview * Channing * Charlotte * Chapel Hill * Chester * Chico * Childress * Chillicothe * Chilton * China * China Grove * Chireno * Chocolate Bayou * Christoval * Cibolo * Cisco * Cistern * Clarendon * Clarksville City * Clarksville * Claude * Clear Lake Shores * Clear Lake * Cleburne * Cleveland * Clifton * Clint * Clute * Clyde * Cockrell Hill * Coffee City * Coke County * Coldspring * Coleman * Collinsville * College Station * Colleyville * Colmesneil * Colorado City * Columbus * Comanche * Combes * Combine * Comfort * Commerce * Concan * Concepcion * Cone * Conroe * Converse * Cool * Coolidge * Coppell * Copperas Cove * Cooper * Copper Canyon * Corinth * Corpus Christi * Corral City * Corrigan * Corsicana * Cottonwood Shores * Cottonwood, Kaufman County * Cotulla * Cove * Covington * Crandall * Crane * Cranfills Gap * Creedmoor * Cresson * Crockett * Crosby * Crosbyton * Cross Plains * Crowell * Crowley * Crystal Beach * Crystal City * Cuero * Cumby * Cumings * Cummins Crossing * Cuney * Cushing * Cut and Shoot * Cyclone * Cypress * Daingerfield * Daisetta * Dalhart * Dallas * Dalworthington Gardens * Damon * Danbury * Dayton * Dayton Lakes * De Leon * Deadwood * Decatur * DeCordova * Deer Park * DeKalb * Dell City * Del Rio * Denison * Denton * Denver City * Desert * DeSoto * Detroit * Devine * Devers * Diboll * Dickinson * Dike * Dilley * Dime Box * Dimmitt * Ding Dong * DISH * Dodd City * Dodge * Donna * Doss * Dozier * Dripping Springs * Dublin * Dumas * Duncanville * Duster * Eagle Lake * Eagle Pass * East Bernard * East Mountain * East Texas Center * Eastland * Edcouch * Eden * Edgewood * Edinburg * Edna * Edom * Egypt * El Campo * El Paso * Eldorado * Electra * Elevation * Elgin * Elmo * Elsa * Elysian Fields * Emily * Emory * Emhouse * Ennis * Eola * Erin * Escobares * Euless * Eustace * Evadale * Evant * Fairfield * Fairy * Falcon Heights * Falfurrias * Farmers Branch * Farmersville * Farwell * Fate * Flat * Flatonia * Flint * Flomot * Flower Mound * Floresville * Florence * Forney * Fort Davis * Fort Gates * Fort Hood * Fort Stockton * Fort Worth * Franklin * Frankston * Freer * Fredericksburg * Freeport * Friendship * Friendswood * Frisco * Fritch * Frognot * Frost * Fruitvale * Fulshear * Gainesville * Galveston * Garden Ridge * Garden Valley * Garland * Garner * Garwood * Gatesville * Gay Hill * Gaylord * Georgetown * Giddings * Gilmer * Gladewater * Glenn Heights * Glen Rose * Goldthwaite * Goodnight * Goliad * Gonzales * Gordon * Graford * Graham * Granbury * Granjeno * Grand Prairie * Grand Saline * Grape Creek * Grapeland * Grapevine * Greenville * Gresham * Groesbeck * Grow * Groveton * Gruene * Gun Barrel City * Guy City * Hart * Hale Center * Hallettsville * Hallsville * Haltom City * Hamilton * Hamlin * Happy * Hardin * Hargill * Harker Heights * Harleton * Harlingen * Harriett * Haskell * Hawk Cove * Hawkins * Hearne * Hebbronville * Heckville * Heidenheimer * Helotes * Hemphill * Hempstead * Henderson * Henrietta * Hereford * Hewitt * Hico * Hidalgo * Hideaway * Hye * Highland Village * Highlands * Hill Country Village * Hillsboro * Hilshire Village * Hitchcock * Hockley * Hogeye * Hondo * Honey Island * Hoop and Holler * Houston * Howe * Hughes Springs * Humble * Hunter Lankford * Huntington * Huntsville * Hurst * Hutto * Idalou * Ike * Impact * Independence * Indian Lake * Industry * Ingleside on the Bay * Ingleside * Ingram * Inhouse * Iowa Park * Iraan * Iredell * Irving * Italy * Itasca * Ivanhoe * Ivanhoe North * Jacksboro * Jacksonville * Jamaica Beach * Jarrell * Jasper * Jefferson * Jewett * Jones Creek * Johnson City * Josephine * Jourdanton * Junction * Joshua * Karnack * Karnes City * Katy * Kaufman * Keller * Kemah * Kenefick * Kennedale * Kerens * Kermit * Kerrville * Kilgore * Killeen * Kingsbury * Kingston * Kingsville * Kingwood * Kirbyville * Kosse * Kountze * Krugerville * Krum * Kurten * Kyle * La Feria * La Joya * La Grange * La Grulla * La Marque * La Norah * La Porte * La Pryor * La Vernia * Lacy-Lakeview * Laguna Vista * Lajitas * Lake Brownwood * Lake Dallas * Lake Jackson * Lake Worth * Lakeway * Lampasas * Lamesa * Lancaster * Lane City * Laredo * Las Colinas * Latexo * League City * Leander * Leon Valley * Leonard * Levelland * Lewisville * Lechuga * Liberty * Lindale * Little Elm * Littlefield * Live Oak * Livingston * Lockett * Lockhart * Lolita * Lone Oak * Lone Star * Longview * Lorenzo * Los Fresnos * Los Indios * Los Ybanez * Lowake * Lubbock * Lucas * Luckenbach * Lueders * Lufkin * Lumberton * Lyford * Mabank * Madisonville * Mansfield * Manvel * Magnet * Magnolia * Malakoff * Mcallen * McClanahan * McKinney * McLeod * McMahan * Meadow * Meadows Place * Melvin * Menard * Mentone * Mercedes * Merkel * Mesquite * Mexia * Meyersville * Midkiff * Midland * Midlothian * Midway * Miles * Millersview * Millican * Mineola * Mineral Wells * Mission * Missouri City * Mobile City * Monahans * Monterey * Montgomery * Mont Belvieu * Moody * Moore Station * Morgan's Point * Morton * Moscow * Moulton * Mt. Pleasant * Mt. Sylvan * Mt. Vernon * Muenster * Munday * Murphy * Nacogdoches * Naples * Nassau Bay * Navasota * Nederland * Needville * Negro Crossing * Neiderwald * Nesbitt * New Boston * New Braunfels * New Caney * New Falcon * New Harmony * Newcastle * Newton * New Ulm * New Waverly * Neylandville * Nixon * Noonday * North Cleveland * North Richland Hills * North Zulch * Oak Cliff * Oak Leaf * Oak Point * Oatmeal * Odem * Odessa * Old River-Winfree * Olfen * Omaha * Olmito * Olton * Onalaska * Orange * Orangefield * Orange Grove * Ore City * Orient * Overton * Owentown * Ozona * Paducah * Paint Rock * Paige * Palacios * Palmhurst * Palmview * Palm Valley * Pampa * Panna Maria * Pantego * Paradise * Paris * Parker * Pasadena * Pearland * Pecan Gap * Pecos * Perryton * Pflugerville * Pharr * Pilot Point * Pine Forest * Pineland * Pittsburg * Plainview * Plano * Plantersville * Pleasanton * Plum Grove * Ponder * Point Comfort * Port Aransas * Port Arthur * Port Isabel * Port Lavaca * Port Mansfield * Port Neches * Porter * Port O'Connor * Portland * Post * Post Oak Bend City * Poteet * Pottsboro * Prairie View * Prairie Hill (Washington County) * Premont * Presidio * Primera * Princeton * Progreso * Progreso Lakes * Prosper * Quanah * Queen City * Quinlan * Quitaque * Quitman * Raisin * Ralls * Rancho Viejo * Ranger * Rangerville * Rankin * Ravenna * Raymondville * Red Bird * Red Hill * Red Oak * Red Springs (Baylor County) * Red Springs (Smith County) * Refugio * Reklaw * Reno * Rhome * Richardson * Richland * Richmond * Riesel * Rio Grande City * Rio Hondo * Rios * Rising Star * River Oaks * Riviera * Roanoke * Robinson * Roby * Rockdale * Rocket * Rockport * Rockwall * Roma * Ropesville * Rosalie * Rose City * Rose Hill Acres * Rosebud * Rosenberg * Rosharon * Rosser * Rotan * Round Rock * Round Top * Rowena * Rowlett * Royse City * Rucker * Rusk * Sachse * Sacul * Sadler * Saginaw * Saint Jo * Salado * San Angelo * San Antonio * San Benito * San Diego * San Juan * San Marcos * San Perlita * San Saba * Sanco * Sanctuary * Sanderson * Sanger * Santa Anna * Santa Fe * Santa Rosa * Santo * Sarita * Savoy * Schertz * Scottsville * Scroggins * Scurry * Seabrook * Seagoville * Sealy * Sebastian * Seguin * Seminole * Seymour * Shallowater * Shamrock * Shavano Park * Shenandoah * Sheldon * Sherman * Shreveport * Shiner * Shoreacres * Silsbee * Silver * Sinton * Skellytown * Slaton * Smithville * Smyer * Snyder * Somerville * Sonora * Sour Lake * South Padre Island * Southlake * Southmayd * Spearman * Splendora, Texas * Spring * Spring Branch * Spring Valley Village * Springtown * Spur * Stafford * Star * Sterling City * Stephenville * Stinnett * Stowell * Strawn * Study Butte * Sugar Land * Sullivan City * Sulphur Springs * Sunnyvale * Swan * Sweeny * Sweetwater * Taft * Tahoka * Talco * Talty * Taylor * Taylor Landing * Teague * Temple * Tenaha * Tennyson * Terlingua * Terrell * Texarkana * Texas City * Texhoma * The Colony * The Woodlands * Thornton * Thompson (Fake, does not exist) * Throckmorton * Tiki Island * Tilden * Timpson * Tioga * Tito * Toco * Toledo * Tom Bean * Tomball * Tool * Trinidad * Trinity * Trophy Club * Troup * Tulia * Turkey * Tuscola * Turnersville * Tyler * Uhland * Umbarger * Uncertain * Union Grove * Union Valley * Universal City * University Park * Utley * Utopia * Uvalde * Valley Mills * Valley View * Van * Van Alstyne * Vancourt * Vanderbilt * Vanderpool * Van Horn * Van Vleck * Venus * Veribest * Vernon * Vick * Victoria * Vidor * Volente * Von Ormy * Waco * Wall * Waller * Watermelon * Waskom * Watauga * Water Valley * Waterloo * Waxahachie * Weatherford * Webberville * Webster * Weimar * Welch * Weslaco * West * West Columbia * West Lake Hills * West Orange * West Tawakoni * West University Place * Westlake * Westover Hills * Westworth Village * Wharton * Wheeler * Wheelock * White Oak * White Settlement * Whitehouse * Wichita Falls * Willow Park * Wimberley * Windcrest * Wingate * Winnie * Winnsboro * Winona * Winters * Wixon Valley * Wolfe City * Woodlake * Woodlands * Woodlawn * Woodsboro * Woodville * Woodway * Wortham * Wylie * Yancey * Yantis * Yoakum * Yorktown * Zapata * Zavalla * Zephyer