5 Things You Need to Know About Collecting Unemployment

Dealing with unemployment is never easy, especially if you don’t receive any severance. However, if you qualify for unemployment benefits, it can take away some of the stress as you launch your search for a new job. How can you find out if you’re eligible? And what do you need to know about collecting? Here are a few considerations:

1. How to find out if you’re eligible.

Just because you lost your job doesn’t automatically make you eligible for unemployment. For instance, if you quit due to an illness or to go back to school, or if you were let go for misconduct, you won’t qualify. To receive benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, you must meet the following two criteria:

  • You’re unemployed through no fault of your own. In other words, you had no control or voice in the situation. You were simply laid off.
  • You meet state requirements for wages earned and time off. In Texas, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) uses your taxable wages that your employer(s) have reported paying during your base period to calculate your benefits. The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the effective date of your initial claim.

2. How benefits are calculated.

The maximum benefit you can receive, calculated by the TWC, is based on a formula that

divides your earnings for the highest-paid quarter of the base period by 25, up to a maximum of $521 per week. Benefits are available for as much as 26 weeks. The TWC also has an online estimator that can help you find the approximate amount of benefits you will receive.

3. Reasons your unemployment can get delayed.

Before you left, your company might have offered severance or vacation pay. This will typically delay when you start receiving benefits since it’s still considered income. In addition, if the state is suddenly receiving an influx of applications for unemployment, this too can lead to a longer time period to process your claim. Since it can take several weeks to go through the process, you should file for unemployment as soon as you are laid off.

4. How to remain on unemployment.

In order to continue to receive unemployment, there are certain steps you have to take. In Texas, for instance, you must be totally or partially unemployed. You must also meet all the work search requirements unless exempted. This includes registering for work, documenting your activities, applying for jobs, and accepting a suitable full-time position.

5. Your benefits are taxable. 

While unemployment is a safety net during a difficult time, keep in mind it comes with strings. For instance, you must pay federal income taxes on them, and you need to report them on your federal tax return. If you prefer, you can have that tax withheld by the state.

Need help finding your next job during unemployment?

It’s certainly been a challenging time for companies and candidates alike. At Murray Resources, we’re here to help. We’re one of the leading temp job agencies in Houston, TX, and can match you with assignments while you’re searching for a full-time offer. In fact, many of the positions we work on are not available through other recruiting firms, so we’re able to provide you with access to temp jobs you won’t find anywhere else. Contact us today or search our jobs now.