UPDATE: Despite Added Staff And Hours, Texas Struggles To Keep Up With Unemployment Claims

AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The Texas Workforce Commission says it is receiving approximately 1.5 million calls about unemployment claims each day right now.

Frustrated and out of work, many Texans say they cannot get through to file an application.

The volume of calls and online applications has become too much for the state agency to handle.

“I know it’s frustrating for people that are trying to call through and trying to get through online,” said Cisco Gamez with the TWC. “It may seem frustrating now, but it’s not always going to be like this. We’re asking for patience.”

The TWC typically has more than 1,000 employees to help process unemployment claims.

With the increase in demand, the state agency hired 100 new employees, transferred another 200 from other departments with another 250 being transferred this week.

The commission has also agreed to contracts with two third-party call centers, adding hundreds of additional call takers.

But even that likely won’t be enough to keep up with all the calls.

On Friday, the TWC asked applicants to stagger their calls and access to the online portal based on applicant’s area codes.

The TWC says this is voluntary but hopes if enough people follow the recommendation, more people will be able to get through to apply.

The $2 trillion emergency relief bill signed by President Trump expanded unemployment benefits as well as eligibility to workers who normally would not qualify, including part-time, self-employed, and gig workers.