Jobless claims in the last six weeks have topped 33 million nationwide. In Texas, the Texas Work Force Commission, which is tasked with handing out unemployment benefits continues to be overwhelmed by unprecedented demand.
“The volume of these calls coming through and the volume of people that need help, we don’t have the manpower for it,” State Representative Michelle Beckley said.
Beckley was one of 36-state representatives who wrote a letter to Governor Greg Abbott and the TWC requesting they temporarily suspend unemployment certifications in hopes of making better use of resources.
California and Florida have already taken this step and Beckley believes it will improve the level of service the TWC can provide.
“We are trying to take some of the burden off the system we have right now, temporarily,” Beckley said.
Among those who can attest to the difficulty of getting through is Jonna Rios, who despite being approved for unemployment in March has yet to receive a penny.
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“I have tried every number that is out there and there is just no getting through,” Rios said.
Rios told NBCDFW she supports anything that will improve her odds of actually speaking with a person and getting help when she needs it most.
“I think for the first time in my life I’ve experienced depression, there are days it’s hard to get out of bed, it’s hard to look at my kids,” Rios said.
NBCDFW has reached out to both the office of Governor Greg Abbott and the TWC for comment on the letter and has so far not heard back.