Filing for unemployment benefits in Texas? You can only call at specific times related to your area code

The Texas Workforce Commission unveiled an area code call chart that it hopes will free up lines to those looking to apply for unemployment.

The problem is the call volume the agency is receiving. The previous record number of calls for the agency was 60,000. Last week, the agency hit 1.7 million calls in a day.

Susan Royal is one of those making calls. Each time, it's the same result. Either a busy signal, or a message saying the system is overloaded.

"I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about what am I going to do," Royal question. "How am I going to pay for this? How am I going to take care of that?"

After sharing her story to our social media pages, the Texas Workforce Commission contacted ABC13 to get Susan help. The agency also announced a new call system today to help everyone else.

They want people to call based on the area code. Here's what it is.

If your area code starts with two, call Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. For area codes starting with three, four, five, or six it's Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Area codes starting with seven and eight it's Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until noon. If your area code starts with nine, it's Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00 a.m. until noon.

If you're filing online, the agency says the best time to do so is from 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. in the morning. Governor Greg Abbott also announced that if you can't get through now, don't worry, once you do, your benefits will be backdated until the time you got laid off.

An update Susan is thrilled to hear, but wonders when people might actually see it.
"I don't care if they have to work overtime," Royal said. "They're getting paid for that. The rest of us aren't."

Here are those days and times again:

Recommended Call and Access Times:


Area Code of Applicant and Suggested Call Time
  • Area codes beginning with 9: Mon, Wed, Fri 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Area codes beginning with 3, 4, 5, 6: Mon, Wed, Fri 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
  • Area codes beginning with 7, 8: Tues, Thurs, Sat 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Area codes beginning with 2: Tues, Thurs, Sat 1 p.m.-5 p.m.




RELATED: Dad struggles, joins 150k in Texas filing for unemployment

But here's some advice. The Texas Workforce Commission says it's faster to start the claims process online than on the phone if you have access.
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.