8 questions — and answers — for the Texas Workforce Commission about coronavirus-related unemployment

Investigations

Texas Workforce Commission leaders still had not fixed problems with its online unemployment benefits application portal and problems handling website traffic as of March 20, 2020.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN continues to field your questions and concerns over the Texas Workforce Commission. We reported Monday on issues related to the agency’s website and phone lines, as folks impacted by COVID-19 try to get unemployment insurance benefits.

Executive Director Ed Serna also took questions, stressing patience, on Facebook Live Wednesday.

We’ll continue to press the agency for answers. Here are eight questions — and answers — from TWC addressing everything from PIN issues to the website’s capacity.

  1. Is the work being performed by the DIR on the agency’s servers finished? If so, when was that completed? If not, when will it be completed?

The Texas Workforce Commission is actively working with the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) to resolve issues and accommodate the increased number of users on TWC’s website. This is an ongoing process and will continue to be monitored and adjusted as needed.

2. How can this PIN problem be fixed without a phone call?

The Texas Workforce Commission is working to resolve issues that some people are having with PIN numbers.

In response to a high number of PIN retrieval requests, TWC updated our PIN retrieval policy. PINs created prior to 2015 have been removed from the system effective March 22, 2020. Individuals needing to retrieve a PIN that was created prior to 2015 are asked to please login again online and reset their PIN. Please note, claimants who meet these requirements but have an overpayment will still need to call to retrieve their PIN.

If an individual has never filed for unemployment before, they do not need to reset a PIN or establish a PIN before filing a claim online. The PIN set up will occur during the claims filing process.

If the individual tried to file online but got a message saying their PIN and SSN is not a valid combination, they get 3 chances to enter the correct PIN. If they receive a message that they are revoked, they will be advised to call the PIN reset department (number is displayed on the page to call). At this time, that is thir only option.

For any other scenarios where their PIN is revoked, their only option is for the PIN to be reset. However, we are pulling a list of individuals whose PIN is currently revoked and we will be resetting their pins and reaching to them to let them know we reset it.

3. Where can detailed information be found on exactly who can — and cannot receive unemployment benefits?

Unemployment benefits eligibility can be found online here.

4. Can you list all the phone numbers and the services available at each number for people who are still having trouble applying for UI?
Unemployment Insurance 1-800-939-6631
Available M-F 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.

5. What is the current maximum number of internet users who can be on the agency’s website at one time?  
20,000

6. What was that number before the DIR upgrades?
1,000

7. If the upgrades are not finished, what will the maximum number of users be once the server upgrade is completed?

As of now, all planned upgrades to the web site have been completed.  Staff will continue to monitor performance of the Web site. 

8. What preparations were made inside the TWC since March 1 in anticipation of the loss of jobs and the growing need for Texans to apply for unemployment insurance?
The Texas Workforce Commission set plans in motion to be as fluid as possible so that the agency could continue to provide services to Texans in need.

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