Claimants rush to get passes for final day of OESC unemployment filing event in Midwest City

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MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Time appears to be running out for those hoping to get help at one of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission’s unemployment claim filing events.

So far, around 3,000 have been helped there but Monday and Tuesday will be the last two days in Midwest City before the OESC staff heads to Tulsa for events there.

In Thursday’s crowd, there was a lot of determination – some folks just showing up for their friends and loved ones to make sure they could get an appointment here next Tuesday before the event moves to Tulsa.

“I felt bad for bringing her last week – I was like oh my gosh I don’t see any kids but she doesn’t go anywhere, she stays with me all the time so she wanted to come,” said Maria Goodson. 

She and her 11-year-old daughter – at the Reed Center again Thursday – helping a friend save her spot in line.

Maria and Payton spent 15 hours last week in line for Maria’s husband – Payton’s dad.

It’s tough – but it’s what they have to do to keep the lights on.

“We’ve applied at quite a few places already and haven’t heard anything so then with the virus nobody really wants to go anywhere, it’s pretty hard,” Goodson said. 

As coronavirus cases spike once again in Oklahoma  – more fears of another shutdown – and more job losses.

Jennifer Foreman is a single mom – with a little one on the way – afraid – at this rate – she will be unemployed again soon if people don’t wear masks.

“You’ve got to respect and care about other people around you because believe me it’s no fun wearing it because I can’t breathe as it is,” Foreman said. 

Interim OESC Director Shelley Zumwalt says there’s up to 5000 claims still pending but she doesn’t know if these in-person assistance events will continue after next week.

The OESC will be back out on Monday and Tuesday in Midwest City before heading to Tulsa  for two days.

“I’m not sure how sustainable this process is right now with staff and our other obligations but we’re open to it and seeing if this is something we need to do on a once-a-weekly basis or something like that,” Zumwalt said. 

Many – hoping to get a chance at these in-person meetings – after months of no success on the phone and online.

“Trying to get up here and get what’s owed to me,” said Foreman. 

As of Thursday morning, spots were filled for Monday’s event and filling up fast for Tuesday.

Tuesday’s hours were shortened from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. so the OESC staff could move to Tulsa and begin serving claimants at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

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