Figuring out how to file for unemployment insurance (UI) in Texas is a daunting task. Where do I go? What do I need? How do I qualify? It's a lot to think about. Here are some basics for figuring out if you qualify for unemployment insurance in Texas.
1. First off, what is unemployment insurance?
unemployment insurance is an insurance program paid by employers to assist workers who are currently unemployed due to circumstances beyond their control. The program provides a temporary period of financial aid for workers as they search for employment.
Below is a list of common questions regarding filing for unemployment insurance in Texas. If you believe you are eligible for UI, complete the online application for unemployment assistance.
2. Who is eligible for unemployment insurance in Texas?
Workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and are actively seeking employment. Reasons for unemployment can include being laid off, a reduction of hours by the employer, quitting a job for medical reasons or being fired without misconduct on the part of the employee. Eligible workers must be capable, available and willing to work.
3. Who is NOT eligible for unemployment insurance in Texas?
Full-time students, full-time self-employed workers and those who refuse to accept a job for which they qualify.
4. Can I receive unemployment benefits outside of Texas?
No. Unemployment benefits can only be received from the state in which you earned them.
5. How much money will I receive?
A weekly amount between $59 and $406 depending on the wages earned prior to unemployment.
6. How soon after becoming unemployed should I apply for benefits?
Immediately. It takes anywhere from two to three weeks after the time of application to be informed of eligibility.
7. How are the benefit wages calculated?
In order to calculate your Weekly Benefit Amounts (WBA) you must first be familiar with the terms "calendar quarter" and "base period". The calendar quarters begin in January, April, July and October. The base period is the first four of the last five completed quarters. For example, if you are applying for UI benefits in January 2011, your base period would consist of the October 2009, January 2010, April 2010 and July 2010 quarters.
Once you've established your base period quarter figures, choose the quarter in which you earned the most wages and divide those wages by 25. Round to the nearest dollar and you now have your WBA.
8. How do I know if I earned enough to receive unemployment benefits?
There are three factors that determine this:
a. Multiply your WBA (calculated in the previous answer) by 37. Did you earn at least this amount in your base period?
b. Did you earn wages in more than one base-period quarter?
c. If you qualified for benefits from a previous claim, have you earned 6 times your new WBA since then?
If you answer yes to those three questions, then you have earned enough to receive UI benefits.
9. How will I receive my payments?
Payments are received in the form of either direct deposit or a UI Visa debit card from Chase Bank.
10. Can I work part-time? How much can I earn and still receive benefits?
Yes, you can work part time. However, you may only earn up to 25 percent of your WBA. Whatever wages you earn above that amount will be deducted from your UI benefit payment. For example, if your WBA is $200 you may earn $50 for the week. If you earn $60, your WBA for that week will be reduced to $190.
11. How do I apply for unemployment insurance benefits?
You may apply online or by phone at (281)983-1100.