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RULE §815.20Claim for Benefits

An unemployed individual who has no current benefit year and who wishes to claim benefits shall report to a representative of the Agency in a manner, including telephonic, Internet, or other means, that the Agency may approve, and file a claim for benefits. Before receiving benefits a claimant shall register for work with the public employment office, including workforce centers, serving the individual's area of residence, as provided in paragraphs (3) and (7) of this section, unless exempt from the requirement.

  (1) In case of a mass layoff by an employer, if the last employing unit involved makes an appropriate request, the Agency may accept, in lieu of an initial claim from each individual, a list furnished by the last employer of the individuals to be laid off and who wish to file initial claims for benefits. The list shall reflect, with respect to each individual, all information normally required on the initial claim by the Agency, except the reason for separation. If the Agency approves the request, the listing then may be used by the Agency as an initial claim for each individual on the list.

  (2) After an individual files a valid initial claim, which establishes the claimant's benefit year, the claimant may, during the benefit year, file subsequent continued claims, weekly or biweekly, by telephonic means, facsimile (fax) transmission, mail, common carrier, Internet, or other means as the Agency may approve in writing, but at intervals of no less than seven consecutive days. A claimant shall file all claims by telephonic means, in writing, or orally, during the hours, days, and weeks directed by Agency representatives. Internet filing is available 24 hours each day. If at any time during the benefit year, more than 30 days have elapsed since the filing of the claimant's last claim, the claimant shall file an additional or reopened claim for benefits as defined in §815.1 (relating to Definitions) and shall comply with all eligibility requirements for the claims. A claimant who exhausts regular benefits may file continued claims for extended benefits as referenced in §815.26 (relating to Extended Benefit Period Announcement) in the same manner in which the claimant filed claims for regular benefits, but the claimant's claims for extended benefits may be for benefit periods subsequent to the end of the claimant's benefit year.

  (3) An individual who files a claim for benefits shall comply with all requirements of the public employment office in which the claimant files an application for work that are necessary to establish a valid registration for work in that public employment office. The claimant shall comply with an Agency representative's requests, whether oral or written, that are reasonably designed to inform the claimant of the claimant's rights and responsibilities in filing a claim for benefits. The claimant also shall:

    (A) provide evidence, upon request, to establish the claimant's correct Social Security account number;

    (B) file all claims in the manner directed by the Agency, whether on Agency-provided forms or by telephonic, Internet, or other means approved by the Agency for claims purposes;

    (C) supply all information within the claimant's knowledge, which is necessary to determine the claimant's rights to benefits under the Act;

    (D) sign all provided claims forms personally for the claims that are filed in person or by mail or common carrier; and

    (E) submit all claims filed by mail, common carrier, hand delivery, or by other means, including telephonic or Internet, as instructed by the Agency, in accordance with the terms of this section.

  (4) An individual may file a claim by mail, common carrier, hand delivery, or by other means as the Agency may approve, in writing in any of the following circumstances:

    (A) Conditions exist that make it impracticable for the Agency representative to take claims by telephonic, Internet, or other approved means; or

    (B) The Agency finds that the claimant has good cause for failing to file a claim by telephonic, Internet, or other approved means.

  (5) If a claimant's answer to a question on a claim filed with the Agency creates uncertainty about the claimant's credibility, or a lack of understanding, or the claimant's record shows that the claimant previously filed a fraudulent claim; then the claimant may be required to file written claims on an Agency-approved form in a manner prescribed by the Agency in writing. A claimant required to file a claim under this section shall continue to file the claim in the prescribed manner, until the Agency determines that the reason no longer exists and directs otherwise in writing.

  (6) The following provisions shall apply to the disqualification provisions of the Act, Chapter 207, Subchapter C, concerning disqualification for benefits.

    (A) The term "employment" in the Act, Chapter 207, Subchapter C, shall be interpreted and applied to mean employment as defined in the Act.

    (B) The disqualification to be imposed against an individual who has left work to move with a spouse, as provided in the Act, §207.045(c), shall be construed to mean both a benefits (money payments) and a benefit period (time period) disqualification; and such disqualification shall be restricted in its application to apply only to the range from six weeks to 25 weeks.

    (C) Agency employees are authorized to administer oaths to claimants in an effort to verify that the requalifying requirements of the Act, Chapter 207, Subchapter C, concerning employment or earnings, have been satisfied.

    (D) An employer identified as the employer by whom the claimant was employed, for purposes of satisfying the requalifying requirements of the Act, Chapter 207, Subchapter C, shall be afforded 14 days within which to respond to notice by the Agency of the filing of an additional claim by the claimant.

    (E) In order to satisfy the requirement of the Act, Chapter 207, Subchapter C, concerning returning to employment and working for six weeks, a "work week" shall be defined as seven consecutive days during which the claimant has worked at least 30 hours.

    (F) Disqualifying separations, new benefit year, and extended benefit period.

      (i) A claimant filing an initial claim, continued claim, or additional claim shall be disqualified from receiving benefits if the separation from the claimant's last work is a disqualifying separation as defined in the Act, Chapter 207.

      (ii) If a work separation in a previous benefit year is the last separation prior to a claimant's filing an initial claim that creates a new benefit year, then that work separation may result in a disqualification in the new benefit year in accordance with the provisions of the Act, Chapter 207.

      (iii) A disqualification resulting from a work separation in a benefit year shall continue during the extended benefit period until:

        (I) the extended benefit period is terminated;

        (II) the claimant qualifies to file a new initial claim; or

        (III) the claimant requalifies in accordance with the provisions of the Act, Chapter 207, under which the disqualification was imposed.

  (7) A claimant shall be eligible to receive benefits with respect to any week only if the individual demonstrates the availability for work required by the Act, §207.021(a)(4), and, if required by §207.021(a)(8), by participating in reemployment services, including, but not limited to, job search assistance, if the claimant has been determined to be likely to exhaust regular benefits and needs reemployment services pursuant to a profiling system established by the Agency.

  (8) The following categories of claimants are exempt from the requirement to register for work:

    (A) individuals on temporary layoff with a definite date to return to work;

    (B) members in good standing in unions that maintain a hiring hall; and

    (C) individuals participating in a Shared Work plan as defined in the Act, Chapter 215.

  (9) Withholding from Benefits for Federal Income Tax.

    (A) An individual filing a new claim for unemployment compensation shall, at the time of filing the claim, be advised that:

      (i) unemployment compensation is subject to federal, state, and local income tax;

      (ii) requirements exist pertaining to estimated tax payments;

      (iii) the individual may elect to have federal income tax deducted and withheld from the individual's payment of unemployment compensation at the amount specified in the federal Internal Revenue Code; and

      (iv) the individual shall be permitted to change a previously elected withholding status.

    (B) Amounts deducted and withheld from unemployment compensation shall remain in the unemployment fund until transferred to the federal taxing authority as a payment of income tax.

    (C) The Agency shall follow all procedures specified by the United States Department of Labor and the federal Internal Revenue Service pertaining to deducting and withholding of income tax.

    (D) Amounts shall be deducted and withheld under this section only after amounts are deducted and withheld under any other provisions of the Act.

  (10) An employer's protest to an initial, additional, or continued claim made in accordance with the Act, §208.004, may be delivered by telephonic means, which includes a verification procedure approved by the Agency in writing, mail, common carrier, facsimile (fax), Internet, or other means approved by the Agency in writing and as prescribed in the Agency's notice of claim form.

Source Note: The provisions of this §815.20 adopted to be effective November 6, 2000, 25 TexReg 11093; amended to be effective February 19, 2007, 32 TexReg 628

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