What can I do to extend unemployment benefits in Texas?
Many unemployment benefits recipients wonder how they can secure unemployment extensions, but the answer is not comprised of simple steps. When a state experiences high unemployment rates, it activates special unemployment compensation extension programs that provide additional weeks of unemployment insurance in order to help unemployed individuals get by until the critical period passes. To find out exactly how to get an unemployment extension, contact your nearest TWC office to inquire. Typically, when an emergency program is launched, the Workforce Commission and the Texas state government determine who is eligible and automatically enroll these individuals for further benefits.
In regular conditions, i.e. when there is work available in the state, unemployment compensation extension programs are not available. Thus, during this time, no unemployed individual is entitled to any kind of extended benefits after their regular benefit period has passed, unless an emergency program is activated in the meantime. For example, in Texas, the last such emergency program was active in 2013. It was known as the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Program.
In any case, the TWC will notify all potential recipients of federal unemployment extensions by mail if an extension program is set to be activated.
Unemployment Extension Programs in Texas
Texas federal unemployment extension programs are activated when there is great need for continued benefit payments, namely, during times of high unemployment. As such, they are not readily available after a regular benefit period has passed. However, if the unemployment rate is extremely high, all states (including Texas) will launch these federally funded programs and extend benefit payments for several more weeks, depending on the circumstances.
The main federal unemployment extension program in the United States was the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Program, which was last active in Texas in 2013. The main purpose of the program was to provide several weeks of additional benefits for unemployed individuals who met all eligibility requirements but were not able to find a job due to high unemployment. In general, the eligibility requirements were the same as those for regular unemployment benefits, but the TWC did retain the right to determine who would receive extended benefits. In Texas, the EUC had two tiers, both of which were fully funded by the federal government. Tier 1 offered an unemployment compensation extension of 14 additional weeks, or 54 percent of the maximum amount of the regular benefit claim. However, the total amount of extended benefits was lower than the sum of the original benefits. Tier 2 also offered an unemployment extension of 14 weeks (or 54 percent of the maximum amount of the regular benefit claim), but the candidate must have exhausted Tier 1 before they could be considered for Tier 2.
The other emergency program that can be activated is the State Extended Benefits program. For this program to be activated, Texas must be experiencing adverse economic conditions and extremely high unemployment rates. Unemployed individuals who are found eligible can receive up to 20 additional weeks of benefits or 80 percent of their initial benefit amount, whichever is less. Given that this emergency program is only activated in special circumstances, the TWC does not currently accept any applications or requests for extensions.