Unemployment benefit strategies - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Unemployment benefit strategies

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Doug Hansen was laid off six weeks ago.

"I'm the low man on the totem pole, so low man goes first," said Hansen.

He filed for unemployment the next day, but still a month and half later, he has received nothing.

"I check my mail religiously," he said.

Hansen said he is on the brink of losing everything. He has gotten another job but it doesn't start until the end of the month.

"Between now and then somebody's got to pay those bills," said Hansen. "My son's like, 'Dad, I can help you out.' I said, 'No, that's not your job, that's my job.' He goes to school that's good enough."

Hansen said he has gotten no answers from the Texas Workforce Commission, so we called the communications director in Austin.

Ann Hatchitt says the TWC is swamped with calls for unemployment claims, and they're trying their best to keep up and help people.

"In the last several weeks we've paid claims ranging as high as $65 million compared to the same weeks a year ago where claims where about $30 million," she explained. "So, the amount of claims has doubled, the volume has doubled...it is very unusual despite that for someone to have to wait six weeks for their claim."

Hatchitt promised Hansen they'd get to the bottom of the delay, but it's still under review. Meantime, rent is due in just a few days.

"You shouldn't have to be in this position," Hansen said. "It's something that was put in there to assist you as long as you've been doing everything correctly and now it's not there."

The TWC says it has hired more call center workers but the system is still a bit clogged.

"Right now we're encouraging any claimants to start online [and] not even use the phone system," said Hatchitt.

Like a number of other East Texans, Hansen is hoping some relief comes in soon. The TWC encourages those needing unemployment to visit their web site or email them instead of calling. We have linked that information directly on our web site. Just go to the Big Red Box and look for "Filing for unemployment."

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