MIDLAND, Texas — More people are filing for unemployment as COVID-19 continues to make its way through the Permian Basin. As a result, people are turning to the Texas Workforce Commission for help.
But it's been difficult for people to get through to TWC because of the sheer number of calls that are coming in.
"On a normal day, we will take about 13,000 phone calls in one of our four call centers. We have four call centers around the state staffed by our employees. Normal day, about 13, 14,000 calls. On the 22nd of March, we took 100 thousand calls into that call center with the same number of staff," Ed Serna, TWC Executive Director said.
With the phone lines tied up, it may be quicker to file for unemployment over the internet. You don't even need to have a whole lot of information with you either.
"Applying for unemployment insurance online takes about seven minutes. You don’t need a paycheck stub, you don’t need other documents, you just need your social security number and a home address," said Cisco Gamez, TWC Media and Public Relations Specialist.
TWC is also lessening the requirements for those filing.
"We have eliminated the work search requirement, so if you are unemployed you normally have to prove to us that you’re looking for a job," Serna said.
While you don't have to prove you're looking for a job currently, some provisions are staying the same. This includes the 26-week provision where people can receive unemployment benefits.
"Right now there are no provisions available to us where we can extend the 26 week provision," Serna said.
But the big question on everybody's mind is whether or not there will be enough funding with more people filing for unemployment.
"There’s enough funding now, and if necessary, we will we will seek additional funding from the federal government to ensure that everybody that needs benefits gets benefits," Serna said.
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