Like many of the most populated states in the country, Texas had to deal with extremely high volumes of unemployment claims due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state experienced approximately 750,000 claims in about three weeks, which was more than the total sent throughout the entire year of 2020.
Unemployed system in Texas is inadequate to handle large amounts of claims
The Texas Workforce Commission was overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of new unemployment claims from individuals who were forced out of work within just a few weeks. The levels of bureaucracy involved in this process are believed to be the most significant source of slowdowns. The commission has added additional service representatives and phone lines, but backed up calls are estimated to have reached 2 million on some days. Additional servers and updated computer systems were also installed to assist with the large backlog.
Workers are supposed to start receiving their unemployment benefits within 21 days of initially applying, but many claim that their applications have not even been processed after that timeframe. Integrating self-employed individuals and independent contractors into the system has also been difficult, because they are not required to report earnings to the state. One mother of three who was interviewed said that she feels like the government has made a lot of empty promises, but no one is actually getting paid and others in her situation are starting to lose hope.
The fact that phone lines are constantly backed up and websites for unemployment benefits continually crashes means that the number of people filing for benefits in the state is likely underestimated.
About 16 million Americans filed claims between mid March and April as businesses were forced to close due to coronavirus. That number represents more than the worst periods of the great recession from 2007 to 2009. Even though Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus package, the average worker will only get $1200, which may not be enough to cover bills and expenses for several weeks. There have also been administrative issues with people actually getting this stimulus money.
Legal actions related to a worker’s final wages and benefits
All workers are entitled to be paid their proper wages by law, and states are required to pay unemployment benefits to eligible workers. Some individuals may also experience difficulty with being compensated for unused vacation time and other possible sources of income. If there are issues with getting proper pay, the right lawyer can help make sure you are paid everything that a prior employer owes to you.
Speak with a local lawyer who can help you get paid
There are labor attorneys in the Houston area who assist recently laid off workers with claims related to unpaid wages and unemployment issues. To get immediate help, contact:
440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675, Houston, TX 77002