With so many businesses forced to close, millions of Texans have lost their jobs.
To add to the stress, many are struggling to file unemployment claims.
KHOU 11 News has received emails and phone calls from several people who have spent days, even weeks, trying to get someone on the phone at the Texas Workforce Commission.
“I feel like, what am I going to do?” said Nicole Powers, who has been trying to file her claim for two weeks.
A spokesperson for TWC says before COVID-19, their call center got between 13,000-20,000 calls a day.
Last week, they got 1.5 million calls in a 24-hour period.
“We’ve got extended hours. We’re working through the weekend. It’s all hands on deck. We want to help everyone,” said Cisco Gamez, Deputy Director of Communications with TWC. “We want to help them. We really do. We see them as our neighbors. Our friends. Our family. This is happening to all of us.”
He says TWC has shifted resources and done emergency hiring, so 300 additional people are helping process unemployment claims.
Even more people are being hired.
That’s on top of the 1,000 people already in that department.
However, that is little comfort for people who need help right now and can’t even start the process.
Nichole Russell says she has sat on hold for hours, only to have her calls to TWC disconnected multiple times.
She’s been out of work since March 19.
“It’s a really stressful time,” said Nichole Russell. “It’s just a really stressful time.”
Tonya Cunningham has spent days trying to call TWC.
“Some people are going to get desperate I feel. Help needs to be made available quickly,” said Cunningham.
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