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Many are still struggling to get unemployment assistance during COVID-19 pandemic

HOUSTON – Kay Edwards-Montgomery leaves her Richmond home and nervously walks to the mailbox to check what’s there. For more than a month, Kay has made this trip hoping to find her unemployment check in the mail.

She lost her job in human resources right around the time the coronavirus struck America hard.

Now, this mother of three girls and loving wife has a rapidly growing stack of bills to cover and although she applied to the Texas Workforce Commission more than 4 weeks ago, she still has not been approved for unemployment benefits that she desperately needs.

“I have been calling every day, seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to find out what is happening with my unemployment claim that I filed on April 2 and no matter how many times I call, I absolutely can never get anyone to actually talk to me about my claim. I have never been able to get a single human being on the phone. It’s incredibly frustrating for me”, Kay said.

Today, Channel 2 Investigates asked Cisco Gamez, media spokesperson for the TWC, what is going on and just how long should Texans have to wait before they can expect to be approved and granted unemployment benefits.

“The average wait time for benefits is typically about 3 weeks right now. But it will vary from person to person”, Gamez said.

The numbers of people calling the TWC and applying for unemployment benefits are staggering.

On Tuesday, the latest figures show over 2.2 million Texans have now applied for unemployment through the agency.

Just Monday, in one day, the TWC received 43,963 claims for unemployment through its online portal. Also Monday, in one day, the TWC received 1,507,000 calls to its telecenters.

As for Kay, she is just going to continue to call and monitor her online TWC account and hope she will see her unemployment claim approved soon.