Texas Workforce Commission working to meet unemployment needs

WEST TEXAS (KOSA) -- Some West Texans have suddenly found themselves unemployed due to the COVID-19 crisis, and the Texas Workforce Commission is trying to keep up demand for benefits.

Like thousands of Texans facing uncertainty, CBS7 called several phone numbers for the TWC searching for information on Wednesday.

But like those looking for help, we were met with automated messages, busy signals and dropped calls no matter what number we dialed.

We then turned to our local state representative for answers.

"The Texas Workforce Commission typically receives about 13,000 calls per week," Representative Brooks Landgraf said. "In the past week alone they've received 50,000 calls. Instead of calling, you're going to get faster service and you're going to get more efficient service by visiting the Texas Workforce Commission website."

It's true. With a little bit of patience and digging, you can find answers to almost every question at twc.texas.gov.

Of course, for some problems you need to talk to another human being, and the TWC is working to free up its phone lines.

"Starting this Saturday we will begin operating 8 [a.m.] to 5 [p.m.], every Saturday," TWC Executive Director Ed Serna said on Facebook Live. "We're also temporarily hiring 100 additional staff members to work in our call centers, answering those calls."

Waiting is hard, but the TWC says those needing help will get it.

"There are countless people who are working to make this situation better for everybody," Rep. Landgraf said. "I would just encourage you to keep your head up. This is a storm that we are all going to weather. We're going to come out of it even stronger, it's just going to take a little bit of time."