Texas (TX) Unemployment TWC Enhanced COVID Benefits – $300 LWA, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and PEUC UI extension

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The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) manages the states’ unemployment compensation program. All the new federally funded enhanced unemployment programs are now in place and eligible claimants can apply for them online via the TWC website. Due to the surge in claims from the Coronavirus induced recession the TWC is experiencing an exceptionally high volume of customers and so has limited access in certain cases. Please be patient if you cannot file a claim – further details and contact numbers below.

Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program

TWC has completed paying the $300 under the LWA program, which provides supplemental payments to eligible unemployment benefits claimants who have been unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.  Eligible Texas claimants receive a $300 LWA payment at the same time as their unemployment benefits payment.  All 6 weeks (or $1800) have been paid and only retroactive payments are being processed.

FEMA Update (Sep 10th): Today, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) notified the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) that the last week of funding for the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program was the benefit week ending September 5, 2020. FEMA previously approved TWC for six weeks of funding from August 1, 2020, through September 5, 2020 for the Lost Wage Assistance $300 benefit program but has now been provided notification that no additional LWA payments will be allowed for weeks subsequent to September 5, 2020.


TWC received funding for the weeks of:
• August 1, 2020
• August 8, 2020
• August 15, 2020
• August 22, 2020
• August 29, 2020
• September 5, 2020


TWC will continue to pay eligible claimants for the approved six weeks, for as long as the existing FEMA funds deposited to TWC remain available.


If I have not yet received payment for September 5th will I still be paid even though the September 5th date has passed?


Yes, you may still be paid for that week, as long as funds are available.

Will I continue to receive my state unemployment benefits?


Yes. Claimants will continue to receive normal weekly benefit amount for any benefit weeks for which they are eligible.


Why is LWA funding ending?


This decision was made by FEMA. LWA relies on funds administered by FEMA. TWC cannot provide additional funds without further federal action.


Can I appeal this decision?

No. Since this decision was made by FEMA and not TWC, claimants cannot appeal.

LWA benefits are available retroactively for the benefit week ending (BWE) August 1, 2020, through the BWE December 26, 2020, unless federal funding ends before that date or legislation is enacted that provides additional federal unemployment compensation. See this page for further details.

Eligibility

To be eligible for LWA benefits:

  1. Your weekly benefit amount must be $100 from existing UI programs.
  2. You must certify that you are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

How long does it take to receive benefits?

On average, it takes about 21 days for a person to receive benefits from the time they apply and qualify. Some people receive benefits sooner and for some it might take a little more time (retroactive payments are in place)

How do I get paid?           

You should request payment on the date provided when you established your claim. You will request payment every two weeks after that. You can:

  • Log on to Unemployment Benefits Services and select “Request a Payment”, OR
  • Call Tele-Serv, our automated system, at 800-558-8321 from 7am to 6pm daily and select Option 1.

CARES Act Unemployment Compensation Expansion for COVID-19 Relief

The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused unprecedented changes to the lives of individuals all across Texas and across the globe. Since March 14, the Texas Workforce commission helped over 1 million Texans file unemployment claims which is equivalent to around 75 weeks of claims in a month’s time.



The Governor declared the COVID-19 Pandemic a disaster March 13, 2020; therefore, the TWC can backdate a claim to the prior Sunday which is March 8, 2020 if an individual was unemployed and has been trying to file but has not yet been successful. If the individual became unemployed subsequent to March 13, 2020 and has been attempting file but not yet successful then their claim will be effective the Sunday prior to the date they were separated from work.

TWC

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is working with federal, state and local government officials and agencies to help manage the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Under the CARES act, there are three types of federal unemployment assistance now available:

• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): expands eligibility for individuals who are typically ineligible for regular state unemployment benefits, for example independent contractors, and self-employed and “gig” workers.
• Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): provides an additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all recipients of Unemployment Insurance; retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020. This program expired at the end of July 2020 (under review by Congress for an extension).
• Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): provides an additional 13 weeks of Unemployment benefits to all recipients.

Additionally, TWC has begun rolling out the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), adding an additional $600 per week for claimants. Individuals receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) or federal extended benefits qualify for the additional $600. [From April 13, 2020]

If you have already applied for traditional UI benefits, you do not need to take any further action to quality for PUA. Do not apply for benefits again. TWC will review eligibility for PUA for all existing applicants automatically and notify claimants by mail or electronic correspondence of their eligibility.

Independent contractor, self-employed or 1099 workers have until December 26, 2020 to provide their 2019 Internal Revenue Service Form 1040 and Schedule C, F, or SE.

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dated March 27, 2020, individuals who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular Unemployment Compensation (UC) or Extended Benefits (EB) under state or federal law or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) under section 2107 may be eligible for assistance under PUA. Coverage may also include individuals who have exhausted their benefits under regular UC or EB claims under state or federal law, or PEUC.

Filing a Claim

Individuals affected by COVID-19 can apply for PUA benefits online through Unemployment Benefit Services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or by calling a TWC Tele-Center any day between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. at 800-939-6631.When applying, individuals affected by the pandemic should indicate that as the reason they lost their job.

What do I do if I was previously denied benefits due to my base period?

You may reapply. Unemployment benefit eligibility is based on past wages, job separation and ongoing eligibility requirements. Prior to April 5, past wages are calculated on a base period of October 2018-September 2019. However, starting on April 5, 2020, the base period changes to January 2019-December 2019. If you were previously denied unemployment benefits due to monetary ineligibility and worked during the January 2019-December 2019 base period, TWC encourages you to visit the unemployment benefit services portal on April 5 to reapply online.

Are UI benefits taxable?

Unemployment benefits are taxable. Individuals can sign up for withholding and the Texas Workforce Commission will deduct 10% for income tax withholding.

Requesting Payment

You must request payment to receive benefits. Request benefit payment as instructed, approximately one to two weeks after you apply for benefits, and every two weeks after that. You can find the date you are scheduled to request payment online using TWC’s Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling Tele-Serv at 800-558-8321.  If you do not request payment within the calendar week your request is due, your payment may be delayed or denied.

Don’t wait for TWC to notify you of your eligibility. Make sure to request payment on the date listed in the instructions sent to you by the TWC. If you cannot complete your payment request because of high call or user volume, you will need to call in and speak to a representative. If you delay requesting payment or cannot get through to TWC to complete your request, it will not affect your eligibility for benefits. However, it may delay when you receive your payment.

When requesting payment, you will answer several questions regarding your work and earnings and whether you met eligibility requirements during the claim period. You must then certify that your responses are true and complete. If you work during a benefit payment period, report your gross earnings as part of your payment request.

You can request benefit payments online or by phone:

  • Online: 24 hours a day using Unemployment Benefits Services at ui.texasworkforce.org. Select Request a Payment. You will need a User ID and password.  For more information about the password requirements, go to Managing Your Benefits Password & PIN. Use the same User ID and password that you use for WorkInTexas.com.
  • Phone: Tele-Serv, the TWC automated telephone system, at 800-558-8321. Select Option 1. You will need your Social Security number and the four-digit PIN you created when you first applied for benefits.

How to Request Backdated Weeks

If you are given the opportunity to request benefit payments for backdated weeks on either Tele-Serv or Unemployment Benefits Services (UBS), you must request them at that time. If you do not, the system will not allow you to try later and you will have to call the Tele-Center.

If you have any questions or problems with any backdated payment requests, call the TWC Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 to speak with a customer service representative.

Which numbers can I call to get more information or help with Texas UI

To speak with a customer service representative, call an unemployment benefits Tele-Center @ 800-939-6631. Because of the overwhelming number of calls the TWC is receiving, they have extended Tele-Center hours and are now Sunday – Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Central Time. See more contact information here.

This article was updated on October 15

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45 thoughts on “Texas (TX) Unemployment TWC Enhanced COVID Benefits – $300 LWA, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and PEUC UI extension

  1. If you were previously receiving unemployment of any kind but have a zero balance, go to your online log in. On the left side of links, click on “Claims & Payment Status”, on that page – right above above “Claim Information” click on “Select another Claim”. This is where I found my Extended benefits claim I didn’t know I’d receive, (as I got no letter in my “correspondence” tab). It states I “have not requested payment for this new claim, BUT also says I “can’t request payment until Sept 20th”. I will say I’m very Blessed, so far I have received my payments semi regularly, albeit scattered & then caught up in a lump sum.

    I qualified originally for regular/traditional Unemployment, but only received 11 weeks of it, (not 26), then transferred into the 13 week Extended Benefits (which ran out this last check I receive this week). I don’t know if I’ll qualify for additional 7 weeks I’ve read about, or what will happen ?!? I’m just confused about original 11 weeks (vs 26). ***But grateful***.

    I truly hope this may be helpful, as someone, (hopefully many), will have another approved “Claim”, they will only find by going through all screens/steps above & finding “Select Another Claim”. I hope I explained it in a way that makes sense. All of my prayers are w/my fellow Texans & the Nation. I pray the government quits pulling each other’s hair like preschool babies & helps us.

    I was a nurse. (You’d think I’d be in high demand). I’m a single mom who’s 7th grade & 11th grade children just went back to “on site” school. I’ve received 5 automated calls of confirmed Covid, but today I received a call from a real person!… that my son has been “exposed/in close proximity to someone testing positive on Sept 2nd”. Their instructions/advice – check his temp every am & pm, look for fever, soreness, loss of smell & taste, diarrhea & headaches. (I suddenly have all of those just thinking about it). We’re in a very small rural town & I’m considering pulling them out for online. Online learning is hard when our older kids have all but passed us up, technology wise. **So sorry for this last rant** Just scared, frustrated & free falling.

    1. Hang in there and stay focused on the blessings thanks for the Unemployment tips speedy recovery for your child

  2. I been trying to back date my claim for almost 3 months and can’t get anyone at TWC..I was laid off due to covid and applied and was booted off couldn’t log in..applied again in June got approved ,was asked if I wanted to back date ..of course..missed the call and have yet to speak to a live person..I think it’s only fair that is who are having trouble backdating .recieved the pay like the people who recieved the call from TWC asking a few questions and next day they had lump sums..is there anyone else we can call to help us ?

    1. I too had a 5 week time of it trying to log in & apply. I found getting online in the middle of the night was my best bet for being able to complete my application. Best of luck, I hope you’ve had success.

    2. So I have been on furlough since March stopped getting paid in August no explanation finally someone called me from TWC and said I needed to open a new claim I was told I would be back dated by the TWC agent who refiled now I just got a letter from TWC stating my benefits are being held? And I talked to an agent who said I will receive a payment on October 22 but no back pay.How is it my fault that I can’t get through. And when I did the crappy unknowledgeable contracted employee couldn’t help me.

  3. Anyone know what is up with the HUP benefits that TX was informed of by the DOL? This was supposed to extend those who had exhausted the 26 weeks on your state benefits, and the 13 weeks under the PEUC for an additional 7 weeks. It utter BS that so many people can’t get through to the Tele-Serve, and still haven’t received squat. It does not surprise me, as Texas never was the bastion of freedom and intelligence.
    My state and PEUC just expired and the idiots at TWC show they paid me $821.00, ($521 + 300 for the LWA, yet my payment for the last two weeks is $1721.00.??? They supposedly upgraded their antiquated computer systems, but from what I am reading on here, it seems not. I am sorry my fellow Americans that your country has failed you, yet again. America, putting a band-aid on everything for well over a hundred years. Pretty harsh words there by that one fellow. Don’t judge a person, unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. Hell, if things don’t change and quick, we might all be out there on those mean streets.

  4. Same to exact story. It’s seems like they will not pay back pay. Even though the governor stated back pay will be paid. Did you appeal. Please someone let us know I’d they were successful and how they achieved success.

    1. HI, I was able to receive my backpay by doing the following. I waited one morning watching the clock and when it said 6:59:30 I dialed the number saving the very last one for exactly 5 sec. before 7 ( my phone dials a sec after you input ) anyways…..I was placed on hold for about 30 minutes and someone answered. I explained my situation to her and needing the backpay. She very simply told me to look into my correspondence box and she would be sending me the forms that i needed to feel out and return to them. I went in my box maybe a day or two later and they were there. All they are literally is just pre dated unemployment request forms for the weeks I was wanted (and qualified) to request payment. I filled each one out and mailed it in to the address on the papers and then in pretty much exactly 4 weeks, I received all of the backpay that i was eligible to receive which dated back to the very first week they issues the $600. I told a friend how to do this and she did and it was like clock work exact same thing for her and she receivd hers as well.

  5. In regards to Retroactive payments:

    I was also unemployed since the middle of March when it was ordered that businesses shut down due to the covid19 pandemic. I finally get through in late June and applied and was hoping to get my payments backdated. I called constantly and never got anyone to pick up. I Requested call back in the chat box on the site and even waited 2 weeks later; no one called. Read some reddit threads and finally found a few emails. Didn’t get any reply at first, but I kept emailing. Finally, they replied and told me to go back on the twc site. That was when I emailed them back about how it’s been a mos and I’ve tried all that Etc. I finally get a call a few days later. They asked me some questions. I Verified my identity. Two days later (today) I get a notice in my correspondence inbox that they will not backdate my payments. They said it is because I have not “shown a good cause.” Omgsh are you kidding me?? I’m so confused because I have read many times on the site itself, that via covid19, They’d back date those claims since the system was being overwhelmed.
    I do remember that during the call they asked me why did I apply in June instead of right away and I had told them that my reasoning was because of the not being able to get through to them via calling and using Larry the chat box. Also miscommunication between my work and I. They had sent out instructions on how to apply and what to specifically put down for the employer address etc.. which they mistyped my email, therefore I was not aware of the information I needed to use to apply. It wasn’t until my manager texted me about the rehire process which she sent in the email. That was when we both realized that they had my email wrong. I’ve returned to work and I don’t want to have to go through that ordeal again of calling and waiting and trying to get someone to reply to my emails etc. I have the option to appeal but I just cannot continue to rely on that money. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to backdate payments. Rightfully in regards to the pandemic, it should’ve been automatic.

    1. Same thing with me.They say they are retro pay and would not be penalized for not being able to get through to them.And having no other way to do so.Some of my ex coworkers got there retro pay and they were laid off the same day I was and were unable to get through. I was laid off March 19 and did not start receiving benefits till May 3rd.And my coworkers got the 600 back pay. I started requesting my retro pay on May 3rd asking to speak to someone through Larry on the chat box.I got my 1st call back in July and the lady what wanted and I said retro pay she said I can not help me and hung up on me.So I ask Larry for call back again.4 more times more and they took my info and said they would have to verify my claim and I would be calling me back on the matter.How many times did I get that call.Zero none.So I call the ombudsmen and told them the problems I was having and they put me in touch with one of there experts and they gave me the same excuse they give you WTF!!!! I am now working with an employment attorneys to try and get this resolved and off they are successful they get half. After all countless hours of calling and having to carry my phone like it was attached to my hip.How can they discriminate us like that. I will let you know what happens.

  6. RE: Retroactive unemployment and/or back pay. I just spoke with a TWC representative about back pay PUA, since I applied in July but am self-employed and have not had significant/steady income since March. She said that they stopped offering this a month ago. This is really unfortunate because I didn’t apply earlier hoping that work would pick up, i.e. pandemic go bye bye, but that is not the case. I hope at least the US Govt extends the $600.

  7. How to get retroactive unemployment. I’ve been unemployed since March 15, but because I couldn’t get through to file a claim until recently. They set my start week June 1st. But it should of started April 1st

    1. I just got off the phone with TWC and was told that they are no longer giving retroactive PUA and/or back pay. She said that they stopped about a month ago. Not the news I was hoping for.

  8. I started receiving my unemployment and PUA but didn’t get any back pay. Is Texas still giving back pay? I was out of work since March 17th but couldn’t get through to apply until May. Do I even qualify for back pay?

      1. I want to see the answer to this question too. I only recently, in July, was able to get through with my application. It still says TWC is reviewing my app. I put that I’ve been out of work since March so will I get back pay from March or July when I got through?

        1. Same here. I was finally able to file on July 23. Now I am being told that since I didn’t apply in March when I self-quarantined I cannot get retroactive payments. I’m curious if anyone at the TWC has attempted to use their website or call their phone line. Calling the site and phone lines trash is an understatment. I was finally able to enter the website by chance – my sister just happened to find my TWC password written down on a piece of paper in one of her desk drawers…

          It seems like TWC will do anything not to pay benefits. It’s ridiculous.

    1. Did anyone ever get answer about backpay? I too was unable to get thru and finally got claim done on june 7 but unemplyed since march 8- i only recvd from june 7. Anybody know what i can do? The 800# is impossible and payment request wont let me go back to march. Thanks for any help!

        1. Hi,
          Yes, I was unable to get through TWC. I’ve tried to do paper payment request. There is a form send out when first applied. It’s your info on there with 14 questions (Yes/No) . It has a fax number at the bottom right corner 512 936 3250. Print the form, change out the date request, sign, date & fax. Also include a letter stating that you’ve tried to request the claim to be backdate but the phone line is extremely hard to get through. Good luck-

      1. Yes. Email ui.ombudsman@twc.gov( may be .net) you can google it with the first part. They have to call you and file the claim for you. They will not go all the way back until March unless you gave proif you tried to apply. They only let me go back to middle of April. I got a phone call on Saturday morning and then a call back on Monday to file the claim and the mobey showed up Wednesday.

  9. Yes I applied for benfits I got denied cause I dont have no wages recorded I get paid cash in self employed why dony I quilfly

    1. You do . You need to request payment on the website. I was denied for UI and didn’t know I was approved for PUA. You have to request payment.

      1. To all who apply for DUA and PUA benefits once your account is set up on TWC and pin is established log i n and the always pay close attention to the correspondence box because all information relating to regular and DUA unemployment is located there! donot concern yourself with regular benefits because Dua is what most of us qualify for .So press but that indicates DUA and it Allows you to start bi wekly payment request etc. good luck and this should help others to navigate much better.

    2. You need to apply. Then you will receive a denile. Then they will start you automaticly. Then they will ask for proof of income. I used my contract invoices.

    3. I’m so sorry to hear this. Will they accept tax return self employment Schedule C as proof ? If they open this to self employed applicants, they MUST give a few/ several ways to show income (or what they deem “proof”).

  10. I had already exhausted my benefits for the year and just started a new job. After two weeks I was laid off due to the pandemic. I filed a claim and it said I was Approved to receive benefits. When looking at my claim status, it said “Benefits Remaining: $0”. I thought that was odd, seeing as how I was approved, but chalked it up to TWC upgrading their systems to handle to traffic and call volume increase. When it was my day to make a payment request, it became even more confusing- it said again I have no benefits, but then took me to the screen of questions to make the payment request. I successfully made the payment request, but the next day I got something in my inbox that made absolutely NO SENSE about how my total payment amount was $0. One week said the payment amount was “**$469”, the 2nd week said my benefit amount was $375, but at the bottom it says: “Total payment: 0$”
    Anyone else have this problem?

    1. Yes, Igot the letter that showed I have exhausted my benefits and I can’t get through to ask someone i am very upset!

      1. Try calling the employer number..thats what i had to do..and i got laid off in February….just google it…hope it helps…i got thru on the first call..

      2. Sharon, I’m so sorry. I too ran out of my regular UI after 11 weeks (not 26)… But…
        I found once you log in, click on the “Claims and Payment Status” link on the left side & once on that page, right above the “Claim Information” line, clock on the barely visible light blue “Select Another Claim to View”. That is where I found they had approved & set up my EB(extended benefits). It says to “you haven’t requested a payment, please do so”, on the new claim screen, but when I do, it says, “too early, request payment Sept 20th”…. I Pray it works, come 9/20 and I hope everything works out for you !

    2. Same for me they haven’t gotten to the exhausted claims still it’s been 6 weeks of no payment but I keep requesting payment and haven’t heard nothing can’t get thru the lines so I checked my email and tec sent out a email saying may 9 they are sending out letters to exhausted claims members and will go from there so start looking for mail

    3. Apply in April got my denial paper on July 13!! Unemployment denied me because they said because i stop working to care for my child due to school closure is not a good reason to stop working! Wtf! I appeal my case..

    4. Steve
      Your situation is similar to mine. I exhausted my benefits prior covid. I found employment right before covid shut down. I worked for about a month when the world came to a stop. I had to relocate because the job I got was not stable and I couldn’t pay my rent bills, i moved across the state with family. This is late March early April when Im homeless out of money with no possible way to file due to exhausted benefits. Come May I get letter in the mail stating I may qualify for pandemic emergency benefits, I apply online for it. Comes June no word from TWC, I try calling to no avail, no word at all from TWC , I wait for July I apply for regular unemployment again , I get approved I make payment request . I get no response correspondence from TWC , I continue to make payment request to no avail try calling TWC no avail , all I get on my TWC account is TWC is reviewing my case if they need more information from me they will contact me. I keep making payment requests . I continue to call but I can’t get in touch with TWC representative. It’s now August and I continue to do that same with absolutely no response from TWC .

  11. I haven’t received anything from Texas Workforce Commission yet, I got through 1 time with receiving any help with my case, I don’t even think the call centers are quilified to help those with unusual cases. This is extremely frustrating, to say the least. You would think they would try to handle the cases that were already on file. SMH.

  12. Why should I care about this cause there is alot of people that is living on the streets and they are living off of SSI and SSDI and the have already received there Stimulus Payment and here I am and I hand not yet seen mine at all I already sent a message to the IRS and no response back oh well I guess all they want to do is take and give to the ones that want to put the NEEDLE in there arm or SUCK ON THE GLASS PIPE and DO THERE LIL CRACK as they do. I am married and we do not hardly have any food I need to stay home I have EPYLYPSY and COPD and my wife stays here with me saying andday out and we will be at risk atlosing our place due to the IRS REPEAT I AM ON SSI

    1. This is very accusatory and angry. just because you re struggling in a different way does not make you more important. People who did their taxes in 2019 and don’t have any offsets were served first look in the mirror buddy!!! This is your fault!

      1. Well said! Those were some pretty harsh comments made on his fellow american peers – we are all flawed to a point & we all face battles of some kind weather it be addiction or other cripling events!! Compassion is the only Effective remedy- your response was perfect! After all- “we are in this together” right???
        Have a blessed day!

    2. How rude how hurtful how evil how bitter it’s just awful just horrible shameful God doesn’t like ugly and you get out of life what you put into it so I guess that’s why you are where you are

    3. I’m sorry you’re hurt & please know your struggle isn’t worse or less than others, just different. I’m a nurse (you’d think I’d be in high demand, but NO… not in my small rural town). Single mother of 2 teenagers, trying to keep my financial (& all other) obligations taken care of… so my children don’t worry & they feel secure & focus on school, health, etc. **I know MANY children don’t have that security & I get sad, frustrated… & pray!
      However; in all the chaos of this, I’ve never assumed who got what amount before me or what they did w/it. But, we are a STRONG NATION, we have to stand together & get through this, TOGETHER, not divided. I hope the best for you, truly.
      The Government fighting like children doesn’t help the moral of the people, but let’s be above them, don’t let that energy turn things worse.

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