Texas (TX) Unemployment and TWC Enhanced COVID Benefits – 600 FPUC, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and PEUC UI extension

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.

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.

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.


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.

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27 thoughts on “Texas (TX) Unemployment and TWC Enhanced COVID Benefits – 600 FPUC, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and PEUC UI extension

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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. 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..

  8. 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.

  9. 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

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