Texas Workforce Commission gives an update on COVID-19 response

Local News

The Texas Workforce Commission’s headquarters building was closed on April 2, 2020 as tens of thousands of Texans were trying to get through online and on the phone to file unemployment applications. (KXAN Photo/Jody Barr)

On Wednesday, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) held a virtual briefing on the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Process with the latest on its website and phone system upgrades.

A TWC official assured that the department is working to better serve Texans by extending call center hours, adding UI services, and improving its web and phone system.

“Everyone that is qualified will receive benefits,” said Cisco Gamez, Media and Public Relations specialist for the Texas Workforce Commission. “We are going to help Texans in need.”

Gamez also stated that the TWC is offering assistance to child care providers by increasing payments by 25 percent.

The Commission encourages those who are self-employed or independent contractors out of work to apply for benefits at UI.TexasWorkforce.org.

The TWC call center is now open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“We are starting to see a decline in the number of calls,” said Gamez.

Gamez confirmed that the TWC is working on opening two additional call centers, bringing the total to eight.

TWC is looking to add around one thousand employees to its team to serve Texans during the pandemic.

“One of the biggest problems we are running into is that new claimants are not requesting benefit payments,” said Gamez. “You should be [requesting payment] every two weeks.”

Gamez encouraged residents to apply online to avoid busy phone lines.

“If you qualify, you will receive benefits,” Gamez assured.

To apply for UI benefits, all you need is your social security number and home address.

Additionally, for those that are self-employed, you need your 2019 1040 IRS form.

The $600 supplemental payments started being paid to Texans on Monday and they will continue to be paid to those who qualify.

To apply for jobs in Texas, go to workintexas.com

The TWC has helped 1.2 million Texans sign up for unemployment benefits.

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