TWC facing backlog after unemployment benefits briefly expired

The Texas Workforce Commission is once again facing a major backlog.

TWC got swamped with calls after federal unemployment benefits briefly expired.

People tell FOX 4 that they have spent hours trying to get through to a person who can answer their questions only to be disconnected because the phone queue is too long.

Nina Carroll is one of many people who stopped getting unemployment checks after the CARES Act expired in December.

The issue forced TWC to re-enter people into the system once the extended federal benefits were reinstated.

Carroll found getting answers to be challenging. One phone call with TWC lasted seven hours.

"They apologize and say you will just have to call back and go through the process again," she said. "I've done that four times one day."

TWC spokesperson James Bernsen says he does want to make sure people continue to file requests for payment.

"A lot of people are panicking. All we have to do is say, ‘You are fine. Wait a week or so. You will be loaded back in the system and will start getting benefits,’" he said. "If they don't request payment, it drops them out of the system."

Bernsen says TWC has added four contract call centers, but even those are maxed out. He recommends people try describing their problem to the chatbot on TWC’s website.

"It is learning every day with thousands of inputs," he said. "It is learning what people are asking for."

If the problem is complex, Bernsen says people can try writing "call back."

"I am waiting on a call from a month ago that I did that," Carroll said.

After FOX 4 reached out to TWC on Carroll's behalf, she finally received her check. But she worries about those still on hold.

"For Texas not to be helping them out and keeping them from losing everything is disheartening. Really, a shame," she said.

Again, TWC says it is working to get people's benefit checks reinstated and is urging patience. Do continue to submit payment requests every two weeks and try to get your question answered online if possible.