Learn more about how to navigate Texas’ unemployment system in our guide for jobless Texans.
This article is co-published with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power.
Applying for unemployment aid in Texas can be like learning to read another language.
Add in a slew of new acronyms stemming from emergency pandemic legislation, and things get even harder to understand. Texas’ unemployment system is confusing and frustrating. Getting familiar with these terms and acronyms may help you have an easier time accessing the benefits you are entitled to.
claim and payment status page
The webpage where you can locate your claim start date, claim type, weekly benefits, deposits and payment requests online.
The mailbox attached to your online account where the TWC sends documents and communications.
Direct deposit. You can choose to have your unemployment payments deposited directly into your bank account. Click here for the TWC’s direct deposit FAQ.
If you receive notice that you’ve been disqualified from unemployment benefits, it means something has prevented you from receiving them. Common reasons for this include a problem with your reason for leaving work, refusing to accept suitable work or knowingly giving false information to obtain or increase a benefit. You can read more about disqualifications, including how to end or appeal them, here.
Disaster Unemployment Assistance. DUA is an expanded benefits program that is activated during federally declared major disasters, like hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires. In Texas, DUA has become synonymous with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, during the coronavirus pandemic. While they are not technically the same thing, PUA is a form of DUA. You may see the acronyms used interchangeably, as there is no other form of DUA currently available in Texas.
Extended Benefits. This state program temporarily extends benefits when the unemployment rate in Texas is 5% or greater for three months. It is available to qualified individuals who exhaust their regular unemployment claim, and it lasts up to 13 weeks. It will be listed on your claim as a type of Temporary Unemployment Benefits.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. This was the federal program behind the additional $600 weekly pandemic supplement that expired in July. Under the December 2020 COVID-19 relief legislation, workers claiming unemployment benefits will receive an extra $300 dollars per week through this program until March 14.
High Unemployment Period. This is another benefit extension program triggered when the unemployment rate in Texas exceeds 8% for three months.
Lost Wages Assistance. This was the federal program behind the additional $300 payments that eligible people received during late summer. It expired in September.
Maximum benefit amount. This is how much assistance, at most, you can receive during your benefit year.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. This is a federally funded program that temporarily extends unemployment benefits for up to 24 weeks for people who have exhausted their regular claims. It will be listed on your claim as a type of Temporary Unemployment Benefits. This program closes to new applicants on March 14, 2021, but continues through April 5, 2021 for existing claimants who have not exhausted their benefits.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This is a federally funded program that provides up to 50 weeks of unemployment aid during the coronavirus pandemic. In Texas, PUA is considered a type of Disaster Unemployment Assistance, or DUA. While they are not technically the same thing, during the pandemic, you may see the acronyms used interchangeably, as there is no other form of DUA currently available in Texas. This program closes to new applicants on March 14, 2021, but continues through April 5, 2021 for existing claimants who have not exhausted their benefits.
Regular Unemployment Benefits
The state’s traditional unemployment aid. With a regular unemployment claim, you can receive benefits for up to 26 weeks in a year.
When applying for unemployment benefits or troubleshooting your claim, you can call the Tele-Center to speak with TWC representatives and contracted agents. Business hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central time daily. Call: 800-939-6631.
An automated system you can call to check the status of your claim or request payment between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central time daily. Call: 800-558-8321.
Temporary Unemployment Benefits
Programs that temporarily extend unemployment benefits are housed under this classification, including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Extended Benefits (EB) and High Unemployment Period (HUP). See also: TUC.
Temporary Unemployment Claim. You may see this acronym when using the workforce commission’s online portal. Programs that temporarily extend unemployment benefits are housed under this classification, including Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Extended Benefits (EB) and High Unemployment Period (HUP). See also: Temporary Unemployment Benefits.
Texas Workforce Commission.
Unemployment Benefits Services. This is how the TWC refers to its online system you can use to do things like apply for unemployment, request payment and file appeals.
UI, UC, UA, UE
Unemployment insurance, unemployment compensation, unemployment assistance, unemployment. These are commonly used acronyms that all generally refer to the same thing: unemployment aid.
Where you can submit documents online.
Weekly benefit amount. This is what you will be paid each week you are receiving unemployment assistance.
Workforce Development Board
A group of community leaders appointed by local elected officials charged with planning and oversight responsibilities for workforce programs and services in their area. These boards work with service contractors to operate local workforce offices. You can look up your local office here.