What to do if you are denied unemployment in Texas

What should you do if you are denied unemployment in TX? As an employee, you can apply for unemployment compensation benefits, which are intended to sustain those who lost their job through no fault of their own.

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will evaluate your unemployment benefits based on past wages, ongoing eligibility requirements, and job separation(s). If your claim goes through, you will receive benefits for 52 weeks starting on the Sunday of the week during which you applied for benefits.

Unfortunately, a lot of deserving claimants receive denials of benefits. However, don’t give up if you are denied unemployment payments — you can always appeal your denial to receive the benefits you deserve.

Tips for Unemployment Appeals in TX

Here are four tips for unemployment appeals that can help you receive the benefits you need to keep your family going until you find work again:

Tip #1: Understand Why Your Claim Was Denied

There are several reasons why your Texas unemployment claim may be denied. Common reasons for unemployment claim denial in TX include:

  • You failed to meet the earnings requirements. In Texas, you must have earned wages in at least two of the four calendar quarters during the “base period,” the 12 months before you applied. In addition, your earnings during this base period must be at least 37 times your weekly benefit amount.
  • You were fired for misconduct. This includes intentionally failing to do your job, violating company policy, or breaking the law.
  • You quit your job. In Texas, you cannot receive unemployment benefits if you leave your job voluntarily and without a compelling reason. Examples of compelling reasons include unsafe working conditions that your employer failed to address, significant changes in the hiring agreement, and quitting for a good reason unrelated to work, such as relocating with a military spouse. Examples of non-compelling reasons include quitting your job for a business opportunity.
  • You refused a suitable job when offered one. In Texas, you can only receive benefits if you continue to look for work and accept a suitable job when offered one. As such, you can only rely on benefits only as short-term relief.

The Determination on Payment of Unemployment Benefits document you receive from the Texas Workforce Commission will state why your claim was denied and provide information on how to appeal the decision.

A successful appeal will depend on the reason for the denial. If you didn’t earn enough during the base period, appealing an unemployment denial probably won’t be worth it. But if you voluntarily left your position because of unsafe working conditions, an appeal may be viable.

Each case is different, which is why it is important to have a Texas employment lawyer, such as Amsberry Law Firm, evaluate the case and recommend the best way to proceed.

Tip #2: File Your Appeal on Time

You have up to 14 days to file an appeal with the TWC Tribunal. Make sure that you explain why you believe you are entitled to benefits. For example, if the TWC letter states that your claim was denied because you quit your job, you could clarify that you left the position because a domestic violence situation made you feel unsafe at work.

Tip #3: Keep Filing Benefits Claims

As your appeal progresses, keep filing your weekly unemployment benefits claims while you look for work. In other words, act as if your unemployment application received approval. If you win your appeal, you will receive benefits retroactively from the date your claim should have been granted, providing you followed the rules in the interim.

Tip #4: Hire an Unemployment Appeal Attorney

Finally, you should work with a Texas Employment Law Attorney who can help you overcome the objections to your original claim and win the benefits you deserve. If your employer intends to refute your claim, they will likely have a lawyer at the hearing, so you should also have an experienced legal professional present to protect your rights. Your attorney will:

  • Help you collect, prepare, and present evidence
  • Question witnesses
  • Present a compelling legal argument for why you should receive unemployment benefits, which can increase your chances of approval the second time around.

How to Win an Unemployment Appeal in TX

After learning about the four tips for unemployment appeals listed here, you are ready to apply them and work toward how to win an unemployment appeal in TX.

If the Appeal Tribunal decides that a hearing about your unemployment denial should occur, you will receive notice of the hearing. The Appeal Tribunal will set the time and date for the hearing, typically over the telephone. An officer with the Appeal Tribunal will oversee the telephone hearing.

Presenting Documents

Before the time of the appeal, our unemployment benefits appeal attorney will work with you to prepare your case. Specifically, we will:

  1. Obtain and prepare documents that show why the company laid you off or fired you
  2. Collect documents that give you the best chance of winning your appeal
  3. File documents on and ahead of time since Texas has strict deadlines for unemployment appeals.

If the company is arguing against your opportunity to receive benefits, we may need to present additional documents that show your work history through performance reviews you had during your time as an employee. These reviews can show that you did not have a history of misconduct, for example.

Presenting Witnesses

We also may choose to have former coworkers testify on your behalf. If the company laid off other people for the same reason at the same time as you, these former coworkers could testify during the appeal hearing to show that the company laid off other people, too. We will select witnesses who can back up your story and make a positive impression on the appeal hearing officer.

If your former employer also is presenting witnesses during the hearing, you have the right to question those witnesses. When you have our skilled unemployment hearing attorney representing you during the hearing, we will question the witnesses for you.

Presenting the Final Arguments

After both sides present their evidence, the hearing officer will allow us to make a closing argument. This is an important final opportunity to make your case, and your unemployment benefits attorney can present the closing argument on your behalf.

Be Prepared for the Hearing

Importantly, you need to be on time and prepared for the hearing. If you are late for the hearing or don’t have your evidence and documents in order, this could waste the hearing officer’s time and hamper your ability to win. The best way to remain organized and prepared for the hearing is to have an unemployment attorney at your side.

Challenges in Appealing an Unemployment Denial

There are multiple challenges to appealing an unemployment denial. Although you can attempt to go through the hearing process alone, having an attorney with experience on your side can remove some of the roadblocks when appealing an unemployment benefits denial.

  • Dispute over firing: Your employer may claim that you quit your job without a valid reason, meaning you are not eligible for unemployment benefits. On the other hand, you may claim the employer fired you before you had a chance to quit. This seems like a simple disagreement, but it can be one of the biggest challenges you must overcome when appealing your denial of benefits.
  • Be respectful: When going through this hearing, you must treat the appeals officer like a judge. Be respectful, even when the questions are difficult to hear and when you believe the other side is not being truthful.
  • Bring facts: In our experience, too many employees use hearsay and second-hand testimony to try to prove their cases at the appeal hearing. You need first-hand witnesses to strengthen your case.
  • Use a quality phone: When going through an appeal hearing over the telephone, using a crackling cell phone with dogs barking in the background will harm your chances. The best idea is to participate in the hearing from your attorney’s offices on high-quality conference phones.
  • Backlog of cases: The appeals officer may have a backlog that slows the appeals process significantly. It sometimes can take a few months to receive a hearing date and another few weeks to receive a judgment. That’s why it is important to continue following the rules for filing for unemployment, as we mentioned earlier, to give you a chance to collect back payments if you win your appeal.

How Often Do Employees Win Unemployment Appeals?

The state of Texas does not publish statistics about how often employees win unemployment appeals.

Additionally, having a blanket percentage of people who win hearings is not particularly useful, because each case has different circumstances. Ultimately, in our experience, those who prepare thoroughly will have a better chance of receiving a favorable outcome. Hiring an attorney with experience dealing with unemployment appeal hearings and who knows what the appeals officer wants to see can go a long way toward giving you a better chance of an outcome in your favor.

Creating a Level-Playing Field

If your former employer is strongly contesting your appeal and has a lawyer on hand, you will be disadvantaged without your own lawyer. This could give you less chance of winning an unemployment appeal. Accordingly, if you want the best possible chance of winning your appeal, you need to do whatever it takes to win, including hiring your own representative.

We Will Fight for the Unemployment Benefits You Need

Not sure what to do if you are denied unemployment in TX? At Amsberry Law Firm we have a skilled and dedicated Texas employment lawyer who can help you present a strong and cohesive case for the unemployment benefits you need. He can also show you how to fight unemployment claim denials.

Our lawyer, Attorney Russell Amsberry, has helped numerous clients across Texas since 1995. He has received multiple professional honors, including inclusion and speaking engagements in Scene in SA magazine’s list of the best San Antonio lawyers, an Amazing rating from Avvo, and a Distinguished rating from Martindale-Hubbell. Check out our firm’s testimonials to learn more about our track record for positive outcomes.

If you are facing an unemployment denial in TX and need an experienced lawyer by your side to appeal, Amsberry Law Firm is ready to serve you and fight for your rights. Call us immediately at (210) 354-2244 or complete our online form. We serve the San Antonio area and surrounding counties.

Attorney Russell Amsberry

Attorney Russell J.G. Amsberry

Attorney Russell J.G. Amsberry founded the Amsberry Law Firm in 1995 with the goal of providing clients with exceptional, focused representation on their issues. His success as a legal advocate has been reflected in the numerous professional honors he has received, such as speaking engagements and inclusion in Scene in SA magazine’s listing of the best lawyers in San Antonio, a Distinguished rating from Martindale-Hubble, and an amazing rating from Avvo. [ Attorney Bio ]

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Amsberry Law Firm

The Amsberry Law Firm, founded in 1995, has helped thousands of clients overcome their unique legal challenges.

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