GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) – For more than a month, Thawann Daniels’ unemployment application has been stuck in limbo.
The Mesquite ISD school bus driver has been unable to work since the district shut down back in March.
Daniels said she went online in April to apply for unemployment but has still not received any benefits.
The 64-year-old Garland woman said she been unable to get answers online and when she tries calling the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) all she gets is a busy signal.
“The other day I must have called 1,500 times,” she said. “My hair is black now but I will be all the way gray after spending the past two months worried about your mortgage, car insurance, car notes, and all the other little bills.”
The TWC’s computer system has struggled to handle the volume of claims ever since Texas’ stay-at-home orders forced thousands of businesses to close.
The unemployment insurance computer system was built in 1990s and has been in need of replacement for years.
The CBS 11 I-Team has learned Texas had $40 million in federal funds in place last year to replace the system.
The plan was to move the state’s unemployment system from the mainframe up to a cloud where computer power can easily be increased to keep up with demand.
Texas started requesting bids for the project in July 2019.
But before the bid was awarded, the coronavirus unemployment surge hit.
The state said even if it had been awarded before the pandemic, the project would have taken two to three years to complete.
The TWC said it will be awarding the contract to replace the unemployment insurance computer systems in May or June of 2020.
Meanwhile, those like Daniels are stuck with an outdated system, still waiting for their benefits.
“The state needs to overhaul the whole system. You need to get it up and going,” she said.