Self-employed workers still waiting on unemployment claims process

Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 5:05 PM CDT
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The Texas Workforce Commission has helped more than 1.2 million Texans file for unemployment since Mar. 14.

They also said Wednesday, the volume of calls is dropping but many of you have told us you're still having problems.

Several self-employed residents have reached out to say they've had no luck getting their claims approved.

Ashley Berry has felt frustrated for weeks. She runs her own salon studio in College Station. Her paychecks stopped when COVID-19 started.

"It's been three weeks at least and still nothing going on. Zero income is a little frustrating when I know that the laws are there in place for us," said Berry of A & Co. Beauty.

She said her initial claim with the Texas Workforce Commission was denied because she's self-employed.

“I mean it’s rough personally. I’m a single mom and I’m responsible for all my bills. I rely completely on my income at the salon. I had a little bit of savings, not for a full month," said Berry.

Fortunately, she's received her federal stimulus check.

"Actually got mine yesterday so that was a big relief. That’ll help out a lot and I’ve honestly had a few guests pre-pay appointments and just the people I work for are amazing and it’s been a blessing. I’m just ready to get back," Berry said.

Tom Wilkinson with the Brazos Valley Council of Governments said the workforce commission is adding people to handle the influx of calls.

"They’ve expanded their hours now to 7 a.m to 7 p.m. for seven days a week so you should keep trying but they’ve set aside for our area code Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from 8 a.m. until noon," Wilkinson said.

"Everyone that is qualified will receive benefits," said Cisco Gamez, with the Texas Workforce Commission.

Gamez said they've updated programming on their website during a briefing with media Wednesday afternoon.

"If your viewers are self-employed or independent contractors and they’re not working right now or they have reduced hours they can go to and apply for benefits," Gamez said.

Those filing also need to regularly request payments, something Berry has done.

“Honestly, I don’t have the answer to the problem, but I know that there is a problem," Berry said.

The Workforce Commission said try to file your request online rather than by phone.

The Commission said so far this week $102 million in benefits has been paid to 170,000 claimants.

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