Can I Claim Unemployment in Texas If I'm Doing Contract Work?

Full-time work disqualifies you from unemployment benefits in Texas.
Full-time work disqualifies you from unemployment benefits in Texas. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Texas Workforce Commission rules clearly state that an individual who returns to full-time work cannot continue to receive unemployment benefits. Part-time workers may, however, continue to receive benefits depending on how much they earn per week. Additionally, you must actively seek full-time work and be ready to accept suitable job offers to continue receiving benefits.

Full-Time Work

The rules are very clear with regards to receiving unemployment insurance benefits in Texas while you are working full time. Regardless of whether such work is as a permanent employee of a corporation or temporary contract work, you cannot continue to receive benefits when you are employed full time. When you start to work full time, you must stop filing for weekly benefits. If you begin to work full time in the middle of a week, you may be eligible for partial compensation of unemployment benefits for that week. Keep in mind that you must report wages during the week you earned them, as opposed to when you receive payment.

Part-Time Work

If you are working part time, you may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits depending on your total weekly earnings. The Texas Workforce Commission considers you a full-time worker if you are working the customary hours for your occupation. No specific guidelines on number of hours per day or days per week are provided. When in doubt as to whether your work qualifies as full time, you should contact your local Workforce Solutions Office or call the tool free number of the Employees Hotline at 800-832-2829.

Earnings Allowance

Your weekly benefits statement will tell you your weekly unemployment compensation as well as earnings allowance. The earnings allowance equals 1.25 times your weekly unemployment compensation. If you are working part time and earn less than your earnings allowance, you will be paid the difference between your income and the earnings allowance. If, however, your total compensation from part-time work exceeds your earnings allowance, you are ineligible for unemployment compensation.

Other Requirements

In addition to meeting the income requirement in Section 3, you must also be seeking full-time work and be ready to accept suitable job offers to continue to receive benefits. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may be asked to verify that you have worked legally prior to losing your job by providing an alien registration number filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. You should also remember to report any earnings from your prior job that you may receive while filing for weekly unemployment benefits. Such payments may include severance payment or legal settlements paid after you sever your ties with your former employer.

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