Amid COVID-19, how does unemployment work if you, or your employer, are out-of-state?

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FILE – In this Sept. 12, 2019, file photo, monitors check their screens in the Governor’s Office of Information Technology in Denver. New Mexico school districts, universities, and government agency have collectively spent millions of dollars to regain control of their computer systems after employees unknowingly opened emails containing an encrypted code that effectively shut them out of their systems. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Steve Thompson’s unemployment benefits are at $0, despite submitting all the necessary paperwork to the Texas Workforce Commission.

But for Thompson, who worked in IT before being laid off April 16, his former employer, headquartered in California, needed to prove that he actually worked there.

“TWC did not have a record of me being employed by the organization,” Thompson said. “Appeals did not show up as being active.”

So, on Tuesday, Thompson called the company’s human resources department.

“The Texas Workforce Commission doesn’t seem to acknowledge that I work for you and I’m not sure why,” he told them.

It turns out, his employer had an error in their system. Now, he’s waiting for them to correct the issue so he can receive unemployment benefits.

“The lesson learned is, don’t assume your employer is following the rules, especially if they don’t reside in Texas,” he said. “Challenge them to substantiate their responsibility.”

Another tipster, who wished to remain anonymous, told KXAN that the TWC told her she doesn’t qualify for benefits and needs to apply for unemployment in Washington D.C.

“All my benefits are from work in Texas, I did not work at all in Virginia, where I currently live, and only worked one month in D.C., where I do not live,” she said.

Here’s a breakdown of how it would work, according to TWC spokesman Cisco Gamez. If the person applying for unemployment insurance:

  • Worked in Texas, but the company offices are in another state, they may be eligible for unemployment in Texas. It does not matter where the company offices or headquarters is located, but rather, where the person worked. “Think Walmart,” Gamez said. “If you worked at a TX Walmart, you would apply in Texas for unemployment. If you worked in an Alaskan Walmart, you would apply in Alaska.”
  • Lives in Texas, but worked in another state ONLY – they must apply in the other state and are NOT eligible for unemployment in Texas.
  • Lives in Texas but worked in Texas and one other state – they could apply for a combined wage claim in either Texas or the other state.

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