Consumer-SOS Legal Help and Consumer Advice

Contact Us 

Accidents & Injuries
Banks & Credit Unions
Cars & Motor Vehicles
Children & Parents
Credit & Debt
Crime Victims Domestic Violence
Criminal Justice&Police Misconduct
Divorce & Marriage
Food Matters

& Gov. Assistance

Health & Medical
Health Clubs


Home Matters

Mail & Postal
Money & Investments
Licensing Boards

People Search

Phone & Utilities

Public Records

Refunds, Repairs & Replacements
Scams & Cons
Support Groups
Wills, Probate & Estates 
Work/The Wk Place

Home  Texas  The Work Place

Employee Or Independent Contractor? (Find Out Which)
Health Benefits
Pension Information

Worker’s Compensation
Unemployment Benefits

Back To The Work Place  







Employee Or Independent Contractor?
    An employee has far more legal rights than an independent contractor. For example, employees are far more likely to get insurance benefits in the case of an accident and also receive more protection against discrimination. In most cases, independent contractors cannot claim overtime and they must also pay additional taxes. Employers know this and will sometimes call you an independent contractor when you're really an employee.  Protect yourself and know your rights. Find out your true status, which may be different from what you signed or agreed to. 

Being An Independent Contractor-Legal Pros & Cons (Nolo Articles)
Also includes how to show you're not one so you can receive benefits.

How Courts Determine If You're An Employee Or Independent Contractor

Tips From The Working Woman's Legal Survival Guide 
Employee versus Independent Contractor Status
Steps To Take To Avoid Problems

Statutory Non-Employees

Sales Representatives

How To Turn An Oral Contract Into A Written Agreement

Steps To Take While Working

Steps To Take If You Are Fired

Statutory Employees (Very Brief)
Many people who work at home or who are paid on a commission basis (such as life insurance agents or salespeople) are classified by the IRS as statutory employees. This means your employer may have to withhold taxes in the same way as regular employees. 

Back To Top

Health Benefits

Insurance Resources For Small Businesses (Texas)
Resources for small employers including the law, FAQs and plenty of informational brochures and links.

Small Employers Health Insurance: Questions and Answers (Texas)

A Women's Rights To Equality In Health Benefits

Questions To Ask Regarding Employer Provided Health Benefits

COBRA Health Benefits 
Know your rights. Federal COBRA law requires most private employers to continue to make existing group health insurance available to workers who are discharged or resign from employment. 

For More Help See Consumer-SOS-Health & Medical

Back To Top


Pension Information
Protecting Your Benefits

Family Members Rights To Benefits
The Employee Retirement Security Act
Pension Regulatory Agencies

Back To Top







Protecting Your Benefits

Overview Of Your Pension Plan And What You Need To Know

Protect Your Pension: A Quick Reference Guide
How to find out who is managing your pension money, rules that pension managers must follow, and what to do if you think there are problems.

Protecting Your Plan's Assets From Mismanagement And Misuse
Discusses the responsibilities of people who manage your pension plan and gives you guidance on how to protect your assets.

Protecting Your Benefits in the Event of Plan Terminations and Mergers
Describes what might happen to your benefits if your employer decides to terminate or merge your pension plan with another plan.

Receiving Pensions & Security

Payment Of Pension Benefits
Outlines your rights to payment of pension benefits.

The IRS Employee Plans Corner
Features employee retirement plan information.

The IRS Service Guide For Small Businesses
Includes a section on retirement plans, including information on SEPs, SIMPLE plans, Keogh (H.R. 10) Plans, and others.

What You Should Know About Your Pension Rights
Explains the rights and obligations you have under federal law as a pension participant ,as well as the rights and obligations of pension plan sponsors.

Your Right To Plan Information
Outlines the disclosure requirements of pension plans, including documents that a plan administrator must make available to you, the information these documents should contain and alternative sources of the information.

Benefit Accrual And Vesting
Rules for eligibility, benefit accrual and vesting

Back to Top

Family Member Rights & Benefits

Providing Survivor Benefits To Your Spouse
Tells you what protections the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) provides to your surviving spouse if your benefit was vested upon your death.

Dividing Your Pension For Family Support
Describes the rights of the parties and the obligations of the plan if a spouse, former spouse, child or other dependent seeks a portion or all of your pension benefits.

Back to Top

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)

What Is the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)?
Learn more about the federal law that sets minimum standards for pension plans in private industry.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
Full text of the ERISA statute and regulations

Making A Benefits Claim And Filing Suit Under ERISA
Outlines how and under what circumstances you can make a claim for benefits, tells you what appeal procedures to follow if your claim for benefits is denied, and describes your
rights to pursue a lawsuit.

ERISA's Protections Against Inadequate Plan Funding
Discusses the rules that require employers to adequately fund their pension plans.

Where Else To Go For Help

Back to Top

Pension Regulatory Agencies

Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
The EBSA protects the integrity of pensions, health plans, and other employee benefits and can assist you in getting the information you need to protect your benefit rights.

EBSA Field Office Directory (Formerly PWBA)
Find contact information for the office in your region

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)
The PBGC protects the retirement incomes of about 43 million American workers -- one of every three working persons -- in nearly 40,000 defined benefit pension plans.

PBGC’s Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce Orders & PBGC

Back to Top


Worker’s Compensation

Workers' Compensation 
What to do when you have an accident, What on the job injuries are covered and the type of benefits you can receive.

Your Right To Apply For And Receive Workers Compensation

Questions & Answers About Workers' Compensation: A Guide for Texas Employers (Texas)

Workers´ Compensation Rate Guide (Texas)
Assist employers in comparison shopping for workers´ compensation coverage and employers´ liability insurance in Texas.

Workers Comp Claims: Prepping For Adverse Medical Exams
Preparing for that exam that's supposed to lower your claim.

Find Your Workers' Compensation Agency (All 50 States & DC)

For More See Consumer-SOS-Health & Medical
See Also       Consumer-SOS/Accidents & Injuries

Where Else To Go For Help

Back To Top


Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment Compensation: Representing Yourself at the Hearing (Texas)

Texas Unemployment Insurance Brochures 
Choose your state and learn how to collect benefits, what to do if your denied and more.  Also has good information for employers.

Maximum Weekly UI Benefits (All 50 States & Territories)

Summary Of How To Apply Or Qualify (All 50 States & DC)

Receiving Benefits In A Quit Or Discharge (Many States)
Smattering of states laws on when you can receive unemployment benefits. To find your state use the control F find function and enter the name of your state.
On your keyboard, just by hold down the "control" button and then press the letter "F". Then enter your state in the search box. Use the "find next" button in the search box to see where else your state is mentioned.

Unemployment Benefits-Important Questions To Ask
Also tells you when your benefits can be denied.

Finding An Unemployment Insurance Office
Helps citizens find out more about unemployment insurance in their home state.

Preparing For A Benefits Hearing
Tips and strategies on what to do at an unemployment benefits Hearing.

Assistance For Needy Families By State
Welfare assistance in every state and DC.

Where Else To Go For Help

Back to Top

Maximum Weekly Benefits By State (As of 6/01/04)

The amounts below are before taxes.

AL-$210 LA-$258 OK-$276
AK-$248 ME-$283 OR-$405
AZ-$205 MD-$280 PA-$442
AR-$345 MA-$512 RI-$427
CA-$330 MI-$362 SC-$278
CO-$398 MN-$467 SD-$241
CT-$413 MS-$210 TN-$275
DE-$330 MO-$250 TX-$330
DC-$309 MT-$297 UT-$365
FL-$275 NE-$252 VT-$312
HI-$395 NV-$309 VA-$368
GA-$310 NH-$372 WA-$496
ID-$316 NJ-$475 WV-$351
IL-$326 NM-$277 WI-324
IN-$336 NY-$405 WY-$296
IA-$292 NC-$408 Puerto Rico-$120
KS-$345 ND-$301 Virgin Islands-$233
KY-$341 OH-$414

Back to Top