Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, millions of Americans are now navigating the state systems for receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Even at the best of times, getting the funds you need can be overwhelming and frustrating. Here are some quick links and resources to make finding your way to the money you're eligible for easier.
If you are an employer, visit the Texas Workforce Commission's COVID-19 Resources for Employers for more information on how employees claiming unemployment affect your business.
How to claim unemployment
Visit ui.texasworkforce.gov to get started as soon as you become eligible. Because of the pandemic, this includes W-2 workers and the self-employed, freelancers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors, as well as those who qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Claims can be backdated to March 8, 2020. For more guidance, click here. You may experience delays applying for unemployment because of volume, but keep at it.
Create an account to log on or sign in and follow the onscreen instructions to proceed. You have to fill in all your information and complete the process in one session; it won't save, so be sure you're prepared.
If you need to speak to someone or apply over the phone, call the Tele-Center every day from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central time: (800) 939-6631.
- For automated phone information, such as claim status or payment information, call (800) 558-8321.
In addition to unemployment payments from the state, the federal government will distribute $600 alongside each disbursal through July 31, 2020. Benefits will last for 26 weeks, if recertified every week during that period. An additional 13 weeks of benefits are available through the federal CARES Act, but be sure to apply for the extension, as it's not automatic.
Who is eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Those who don't qualify for regular unemployment benefits can still get PUA if they are diagnosed with, experiencing symptoms of, or affected directly by COVID-19, including:
- A member of the individual's household has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- The individual is providing care for a family member or member of the household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency, and the school or care is required for the individual to work
- The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a COVID-19 quarantine or because a healthcare professional has advised him or her to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns
- The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19
- The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19
- The individual has quit his/her job or was laid off as a direct result of COVID-19
- The individual's place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19
Texans can get COVID-related PUA through Dec. 31, 2020. Visit the TWC's COVID resource page for job-seekers for flowcharts, links, resources, FAQs, and more.