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With millions out of work, furloughed Texas workers struggle to file for unemployment

HOUSTON – Millions around the country are filing for unemployment after being laid off or furloughed as the economy grinds to a halt.

Tara Klovenski works for a medical device company as an event and trade show coordinator. She was furloughed last weekend has been trying to get through to the Texas Workforce Commission.

“I’ve called numerous times because you get a busy signal, you hang up call back, hang up call back. And then this morning, I got the recording that said due to the high volume we’re not accepting calls at this time,” Klovenski said.

Klovenski said she’s been on the phone and on the agencies website four to five hours a day for three days.

“We have bills to pay. Me and my husband had an agreement from the beginning, you cover this and now, he’s having to cover everything,” Klovenski said.

Klovenski knows she’s fortunate that her husband is still working but worries about how long he continue paying all the bills.

She also said she understands why the agency might be experiencing a high call volume but wants them to be transparent about the issue.

“The frustration there is just tell us are you overwhelmed,” Klovenski said.

The TWC is doing just that.

In a statement obtained by KPRC 2, they addressed the high call volume and website traffic:

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is committed to providing services for Texans in need. With the impacts of the COVID-19 virus, TWC is experiencing a significant increase in the number of people visiting the TWC website which includes information for citizens about TWC programs, such as Unemployment Insurance (UI).

We recognize the inconvenience this causing for our customers and are working quickly with our agency partner, the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) to resolve issues and accommodate the increased number of users on TWC’s website. Working with DIR we have increased the memory to accommodate the number of users on the server.

The system that handles UI claims is a completely separate application and on a different server, but is also experiencing higher than normal traffic due to a significant increase in COVID-19 related claims. TWC is actively working with the DIR to make ensure the server can accommodate the number of people filing claims.

The TWC Executive director, Ed Serna, is also hosting a Facebook Live Q&A addressing the coronavirus and unemployment questions.

The Facebook live will take place Wednesday March 25 on the TWC Facebook page. Facebook.com/texasworkforcecommission