Some got stimulus checks while others still stuck in unemployment limbo

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Many people woke up Monday morning with an extra $1,200 of federal stimulus money while others are still stuck with busy lines as they try and collect unemployment benefits.

Tristan Nokes told ABC13 he just wants someone to pick up the phone.

Instead of a person, for nearly a month, he's been greeted with a busy signal.

The Houston man said a Social Security issue has forced him to call the Texas Workforce Commission.

"I know that I'm going to be drying out soon, and I'm just trying to get as much money as I can without that happening," Nokes said.

The TWC said over the past month. it's helped 1.1 million Texans apply for unemployment benefits.

But applying over the phone is like hitting the lottery.

One day last week, 3.4 million calls were received, but the agency only helped 2,700 people, or less than one percent.

Nokes hoped Monday would be different.

On Monday, the agency will begin taking calls from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. everyday.

"I've done it today, and still no difference," Nokes said. "With so many people trying to get unemployment now, you can't do anything at this moment. You just have to wait."

While unemployment benefits are lagging for some, another form of funds has already arrived. The federal government said 80 million Americans will receive a stimulus payments.

It's $1,200 per person if they made less than $75,000, or $2,400 for married couples earning less than $150,000, and $500 dollars for each child.

Tamoretta Westbrook couldn't believe it when the money arrived Monday morning.

"I jumped up," Westbrook recalled. "I was just excited because now I know, it's a slow process, but now I can take care of a few things that were on the back burner."

If you filed taxes over the past two years and set up direct deposit, you don't have to do anything because the money will be placed in your account electronically. For those who didn't select direct deposit, the government is releasing an app this week where you can enter information to get money.

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