After you've filled out your application for Texas unemployment benefits, you likely wonder how long it will take before you see the first benefit payment that you need for your bills. Generally, the state gives an estimate of around four weeks to get approved and paid, but issues like an overloaded unemployment system and application mistakes can stretch this out further. If you want to avoid additional delays, you'll want to make sure that you answer honestly on the unemployment application, respond promptly to any requests from the state and follow through with timely payment requests.
Texas Unemployment Application Timeline
To get your benefits most efficiently, you'll want to apply for Texas unemployment benefits as soon as you've completed your last shift or you've completed a week of reduced work hours that qualify you for partial unemployment. You can create an account and complete your application on the Texas Workforce Commission's Unemployment Benefit Services page. Alternatively, you can do it over the phone by dialing 1-800-939-6631.
During the application, you'll answer questions about your last employer and tell the state how much you make and how much you usually work each week. You'll also state whether you want your money sent to your bank account or you want to get a debit card issued from the Texas Workforce Commission. The state will then verify everything and reach out to your past employer. It can take up to two weeks for employer verification, and the state might contact you too.
Within four weeks, you should get a letter stating your eligibility, benefit year and estimated payments. Check the letter to make sure the information shown looks accurate. If you notice something like missing or incorrect wages, reach out to the Texas Workforce Commission immediately.
Texas Unemployment Payment Timeline
Texas requires that you request your first payment through its unemployment website or Tele-Serv phone line. This needs to happen within two weeks of your initial application submission, as forgetting to do so will cause further delays in getting your first check and may even lead to your needing to reapply entirely. During the process, you'll provide information about any earnings that week so the state can determine what to pay you.
Traditionally, Texas would make you wait one week before sending your first unemployment check; however, the state has waived that waiting period for now in response to COVID-19. The state notes that you can generally expect it to take at least four weeks between the initial application to your first payment; however, current delays in the Texas unemployment system might extend that time by additional weeks.
The wait should go down to two business days for future payments once you've started receiving benefits and begin certifying biweekly.
Avoiding Delays in Unemployment Benefits
While you don't have control over an overloaded unemployment application system, you can take some steps to prevent an even longer wait for processing your initial application. Specifically, you'll want to avoid including any inaccurate information on your unemployment application regarding your earnings, unemployment reason and job status. The state will contact your employer, and your employer can dispute your information and cause further delays and possibly a denial of benefits. In the latter case, you'd have to spend more time in an appeals process.
You'll also want to make sure you're properly set up for payment and follow the state's instructions for requesting payments on time. The state suggests setting up your direct deposit right after applying for benefits since it can take eight days to verify your account and another eight days if you need to fix incorrect account information. Once you begin getting payments, file your biweekly claim on time so that you don't miss out on benefits for that week or have to contact the state to ask for lenience.
Lastly, always respond quickly to any requests from the Texas unemployment office. During the process, the state might ask you to verify information or submit additional documentation. Getting back as soon as possible will help cut down on the time it takes to get your benefits started.
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