DALLAS - The Texas Workforce Commission is trying to find a way to help an overwhelming number of callers as other parts of state government are sending extra staffers.
The department said more than half a million Texans filed for unemployment in just two and a half weeks.
And those were just the people who could get through. TWC workers have been swamped, dealing with technical issues and a long list of people on hold.
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To better meet the demand problem, TWC is asking Texans to stagger calls and online requests based on their area code.
Those in the 972 area code and other area codes beginning with 9 should call between 8 a.m. and noon on Monday, Wednesday or Friday.
Those in the 214 area code or other area codes beginning with 2 should call between 1 and 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday.
Applicants with the 469 area code or other area codes beginning with 3, 4, 5 or 6 should call between 1 and 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday or Friday.
All others should call between 8 a.m. and noon on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 has reminded each of us the importance of acting with others in mind,” said TWC Executive Director Ed Serna. “Just as with the virus, we can treat this problem far more effectively if we work together and space out the demand rather than having everyone call at the same time. I know there are Texans worried about being out of work and missing their paychecks. We keep working until every Texan that needs help gets help. We are asking for you to join the effort.”
TWC hopes the staggered call schedule will help reduce frustrations and give people better access to its services.
The commission has recently hired hundreds of new people, expanded capacity on its website and increased its ability to take more calls.
Democrats and Republicans in the Texas State Senate are sending almost 200 staffers and volunteers to help answer calls for people seeking unemployment benefits.
Claims due to COVID-19 are eligible to be backdated, the department said.