DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – While new unemployment claims in Texas have ticked upward in recent weeks, many out-of-work Texans said they’re struggling to get through to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

Claims hits a pandemic-low in November and have ticked upward since.

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As more Texans file for benefits, the TWC has seen a jump in call volume.

Currently, the state agency is receiving roughly three million calls a week. That’s a fraction of the 15 million weekly calls it was receiving in April but is up from the 1 million weekly calls the agency was receiving in September and October.

Ross Condarco of Mesquite said he’s spent 15 hours, so far, trying to get his unemployment account issued resolved.

“I’m calling every day and so is everybody else,” Condarco said. “When they say you have to wait an hour, can you imagine how many people hang up and just get frustrated.”

Back in the spring when unemployment spiked, TWC extended it hours and added four new call centers. The extra support is still in place today.

Condarco and others have told the CBS 11 I-Team when they call the TWC they get stuck in a loop.

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When they reach a real person on the phone, they say the contracted employees often are unable to fix many of the issues.

“Here’s this person saying, ‘No, I can’t help you.’ So, they put me in a queue again. It’s the same queue. Guess what? Another person that was a contractor got ahold of me and they couldn’t help me,” Condarco explained.

TWC told the I-Team it’s constantly training contractors to allow them to handle a wider variety of more complex calls. However, the state agency added in order to do training it has to take them off the phones. TWC officials say it’s a balancing act.

TWC encourages people before they call to go to its website and see if they can resolve their issue online first.

State unemployment officials also want to remind people that no extra steps are required to receive the additional $300 federal benefit that went into effect in late December.

If people are already in the system, they should keep requesting checks, but do not have to re-apply for benefits.

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