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I have a question about unemployment benefits in Texas.

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I have a question about unemployment benefits in Texas

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Texas is an at will state

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I filed an unemployment claim on October 23, 2016

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
10/16/2017
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,161
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
i filed a claim on October 23, 2016 when i was waiting table trying to get by paying bills making about $400 a week so my benefit amount was $198.00 per week. I found good accounting job and started work on February 12, 2017. I reported to TWC that I had a new job and they made me pay back 2 of the benefit payments I had received. I got fired on July 17, 2017 so I filed another claim. I was making $55,000 per year at this job. They still only paid me $198.00 per week. Is this correct?
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
The TWC website has a tool to calculate you weekly benefit based on the previous 4 quarters of earnings prior to filing my claim. I calculated my weekly benefit should be $498 per week or the maximum of $493

Well, it's not the "previous four" but rather your base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the effective date of your initial claim. So if you filed in July, the second quarter of 2017 wouldn't be counted. Rather, it would be April of 2016 to March of 2017. So it would only include 1 and a half months (through end of March) of the earnings from your new job, as well as no earnings between October and February. Is that how you calculated it, or did you calculate based upon the previous quarter (through June)?

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Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is the amount you receive for weeks you are eligible for benefits. Your WBA will be between $67 and $494 (minimum and maximum weekly benefit amounts in Texas) depending on your past wages. To calculate your WBA, they divide your base period quarter with the highest wages by 25 and round to the nearest dollar.

So I understand that your wages in the previous quarter (April to June) were probably higher, but it's not considered. The base period is April 2016-March 2017. The new job would only include 1.5 months of earnings. If you earned more in the first quarter of 2017 than in either the second quarter or third quarter of 2016, then you should be getting more benefits. But I assume that the earnings in the first quarter were less, which is why they calculated it on the highest earning quarter of those four quarters between April 2016 and March 2017.

Does that make sense?

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
i still worked as a waiter until I got the job in February. So I still had wages. When I calculated it i used $55,000 per year for the first quarter of the year. I did not use the second quarter and I figured $400 a week for the previous 3 quarters. The problem is they are still paying me on the first claim, not the second one. The way I read the law, when you report going back to work that ends the initial claim. They are telling me that claim is open for one year so im being paid on it, instead of the higher wage claim. I think they owe me around $3,000 for 11 weeks.

I see. I will opt out of this question to allow another expert to assist further.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
I think I understand how the benefit should be calculated and I know I made a lot more money the first quarter of 2017. The problem is they are telling me that my benefit amount has to be the one from my previous claim in 2016 because that claim is good for one year. This is what I need clarification on. The way I read the law, as soon as you report that you have a new job and earn money in excess of what your benefit would have been, then that claim is closed. That is what happened and they even made me pay back $396 of benefits because I didn't report the first two weeks of work correctly. I think I should be getting paid benefits from the claim I filed in 2017, which would definitely be a high amount even if it's not the maximum and I was unemployed for 11 weeks, which they paid me $198.00 per week.
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 125,320
Experience: 20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

I am a DIFFERENT CONTRIBUTOR as your previous contributor left.

If you had a prior claim from the prior base period year and you return to work and then get laid off again in the same base period year, the prior base period year must be exhausted before you could claim a new base period. This can cause your benefits to be lower than they should be and you would have to wait until the prior base year claim expires, since there were still weeks available in that period. So unemployment is correct in their calculation leaving it as the 2016 base period where there were still weeks left in that claim.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
That makes no sense what so ever. Why does the law say to report what day you start new employment to end the claim and what does it mean to earn more money than your initial claim is for? My benefit should be based on the work I did for the employee that I filed a claim against. It should have nothing to do with any other claim I have EVER filed. The company that fired me should be responsible for paying me benefits for the amount of money I was making while I worked for them. The initial claim has absolutely nothing to do with me being fired at my last job. We have people collecting unemployment illegally in this country and I can't even get paid an appropriate amount of benefits owed to me. So is there anything I can do to get paid what my claim was for or I am I just screwed by the system. The company that fired me should have to pay me the correct benefit and their unemployment rate should go up to reflect that firing without cause.

Thank you for your reply.

I am afraid that you worked 4 months at the new job, which was not even enough to impact your unemployment benefits. Second, and we do not make up these rules, your state does, the system screws you because if you still had weeks left in your prior claim, that prior base period and the law says you must complete that claim out and run those weeks out. Then they could recalculate your claim in a new base period claim, but 4 months of wages would not cause any significant increase in unemployment benefits here.

The company that fired you was only liable to pay into unemployment, they are not liable for your benefit amount you are collecting. This is all based under the unemployment laws and their system for calculating benefits. Yes, they have people illegally collecting unemployment benefits, but as they find out who they are they do pursue them (the problem is finding these people).

The only thing you can do is upon expiration of this base period claim, you are actually entitled to file a new claim in the new 2017 base period and at that point they would recalculate your claim.

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Then there was no sense in me even filing the claim July 17, 2017. I totally disagree about the wages I earned the first quarter of 2017 not changing my benefit amount. I made approximately $10,850 the first quarter of 2017 which would have been the last quarter of my base period for calculating my benefit for a claim filed on July 17, 2017, so how can you say my benefit would not change when I was only making $4,800 a quarter the 3 previous quarters. I guess you went to law school, not business school and you're not an accountant. This is biggest bunch of BS I've ever seen.

Thank you for your reply.

I understand your frustration, but please do not take out your anger with the laws out on me. First, you know nothing about me and your "guess" is not quite correct in that I have an MBA as well as a JD and practice unemployment law.

I did NOT say your "benefit would not change" I said it would not be as significant of a change as you expect because you worked only 4 months and they still have other quarters in there at lower rates of pay which would drag down the amount. So your benefit would go up in your next base period 2017 claim, but not likely as significantly as you believe.

AS far as the biggest bunch of BS you have ever seen, that is something you need to take up with your state legislators, because we did not make the Texas laws about how they do this and you should be focusing your anger (which is quite evident in your posts) at them because they can make changes, not us, because all we can do is tell you what the laws are and how the system works (even though, as you said correctly, it screws the employee).

Please do not forget to leave positive feedback by clicking on the 5 stars at the top of your page, as the experts are not employees of the site and get no credit for spending time with customers unless they leave positive feedback. Thank you.

Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 125,320
Experience: 20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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