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Texas Workforce Commission launches new process for handling unemployment claims

New method is expected to ease backlog, shorten wait times when calling the department and prevent technical issues on the online portal.

HOUSTON — The Texas Workforce Commission announced a new method Friday for assisting unemployment applicants as the department takes in an unprecedented number of claims.

The plan is to stagger contact to TWC by having Texans call and access the unemployment benefits portal at specific times based on their area code. The recommended times are as follows:

  • Area Codes Beginning with 9 
    • Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. - noon.
  • Area Codes Beginning with 3, 4, 5, 6 
    • Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays  from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Area Codes Beginning with 7, 8
    • Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. - noon
  • Area Codes Beginning with 2
    • Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

More 500,000 Texans have filed unemployment claims in the last two weeks as a result of COVID-19, and the surge in applications has led to long wait times, overwhelmed call centers and has created technical issues with the Unemployment Benefit Services portal.

The state helped 700,000 people in all of 2019, they are expected to outpace that number in upcoming weeks.

"Just as with the virus, we can treat this problem far more effectively if we work together and space out the demand rather than having everyone call at the same time," TWC Executive Director Ed Serna said. "I know there are Texans worried about being out of work and missing their paychecks. We keep working until every Texan that needs help gets help. We are asking for you to join the effort.”

RELATED: Here's what the Texas Workforce Commission is doing to respond to influx of people in need of help

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