Dialing for Dollars

cally-graves
Is TWC ever going to answer that phone?

I’ve got good news and bad news for all you folks filing for Unemployment Insurance in Texas right now. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

Bad News
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is not going to answer the phone on the first ring. Unfortunately, a lot of Texans are filing for Unemployment Insurance (UI) now. TWC hired extra staff and extended their hours but demand is high. The worst days to call are Monday and Tuesday; they are the busiest usually.

Call to file:
Monday – Friday, 7am-7pm, local (281) 983-1100, toll-free (800) 939-6631

Good News
You can apply online for UI benefits and the Internet is available 24/7. If you were laid off, this is definitely the easiest way to file. (If you have issues, e.g., you were fired; you will have to phone in to explain the circumstances.)

Log on to file:
www.texasworkforce.org/ui/uiclaim.html

More Tips
You must wait until you are no longer paid a salary to file for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Vacation pay and severance pay do not count as salary.  Here is the website address to get more information about your UI benefits:
www.texasworkforce.state.tx.us/ui/bnfts/claimantinfo/html

If you need to speak to someone at TWC about a problem with your UI benefits, use the following email form.  They will respond within 48 hours. Phoning is almost impossible.
E-mail form

You must register for work to receive UI benefits, which is a separate application. You don’t have to wait until you are unemployed to do this. Go to the official website:
www.workintexas.org

Usually, UI benefits run about 26 weeks.  Congress voted extensions and now it’s possible you could draw benefits for up to 33 additional weeks.   The Economic Stimulus Act waives federal income taxes on the first $2,400 of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits you receive during 2009.  This means $25 is added to most UI benefit payments.  TWC adds the funds to your debit card account each time they deposit your normal benefits payment. Remember, though, any benefits paid over that amount are taxable.

Don’t give up hope!  Don’t park yourself in front of the computer all the time.  Get out there – network, network, network!  We’re here to help, check out our web site Workforce Solutions and post a comment here.

Cally Graves is an Industry Liaison between business, workforce, and education. She has 35 years of experience in workforce development, primarily working with employers in Houston, Texas and the Gulf Coast region.



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