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Unemployment benefit claims surge amid coronavirus-related business closures

Posted at 8:02 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 00:03:09-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The number of Texans seeking unemployment benefits is skyrocketing according to the Texas Workforce Commission, the agency that handles those claims.

The battle against the novel coronavirus COVID 19 is the obvious culprit as businesses close amid restrictions intended to stop the virus's spread.

“We had over 1.5 million calls come to the (TWC phone number yesterday)," Cisco Gamez with the Workforce Commission said. "That’s just a large volume of calls coming in. We are doing our best to accommodate all of those people.”

It's why Gamez recommends filing your unemployment claims online. He says between 1:00 and 6:00 a.m. is the best time period, because that's when the fewest number of people are using the site.

Whether you call or go online, Gamez says your persistence will pay off.

"Every Texan who’s applying for unemployment insurance, if they qualify, they will receive benefits,” he said.

Gamez says the Labor Department won't allow him to release the most recent numbers when it comes to benefit claims, but he points out the two prior weeks. For the week ending March 14, 16,000 Texans claimed benefits. The following week, 155,000 Texans claimed benefits.

"It’s a pretty big jump. We’re doing what we can to help everyone in need and we will help everyone in need," he said.

If you'd like to apply online click here. If you'd like to do so over the phone, call 1-800-558-8321.