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Texas Workforce Commission adds extra staff to address influx of need

TWC is bringing on extra people and emergency hires to help with the increased need from people trying to file for unemployment benefits.

AUSTIN, Texas — Some Texans are having issues filing for unemployment benefits. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is asking people to bear with them while it tries to address the influx of need. 

Cisco Gamez with the TWC said "it’s all-hands-on-deck" right now. 

"We are working extended hours. We are working on the weekends. We are monitoring systems and making changes where we can enhance services for people who are trying to call in or use the website for unemployment insurance," said Gamez. "We are hiring people right now, as well, to help in unemployment insurance. We have over 1,000 people working in unemployment insurance services, and we are adding more to help with the demand and need for people applying." 

Gamez said TWC added 200 more people last week to also help with people filing for unemployment benefits. 

He noted TWC is also moving staff from different departments to address the increased need. 

RELATED: Coronavirus layoffs in the Austin area: What to know if you lost your job

Gamez said to go to the TWC website to apply for unemployment benefits or call 1-800-939-6631. TWC said people are staffing the phones Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"For both of those, there is a lot of traffic coming through, so if you’re on the website and you notice that it’s going slow or you’re having trouble getting through, it’s because there are a lot of people applying online. And if you’re having the same situation on the phone, please bear with us," said Gamez. 

He said TWC is not able to release data on how many people filed for unemployment insurance claims in March at this point.  

RELATED: How to file for unemployment in Texas if your job is affected by coronavirus

"But I can tell you that on the phone last week, there were several days where we had over a million-and-a-half calls each day. It’s a big number. That’s not the number of people who are applying, it’s just that people are calling and calling," said Gamez. "That’s why I’m asking people to please be patient with us. I don’t know any call center that can handle a million-and-a-half calls in a day. So we are working to follow through, and everyone who qualifies for unemployment insurance will receive benefits." 

Gamez said if you are having trouble accessing the website, try during times when there is less traffic. He said the best times to log on are between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.

He said the TWC website will also link people to the workintexas.com site. 

Gamez said the site currently has 600,000 jobs listed. 

According to the TWC, there have been more than 4,400 employees laid off in the state since March 20.

Locally:

  • 839 layoffs are in Travis County 
  • 66 layoffs are in Williamson County 
  • 5 layoffs are in Hays County

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