OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – For the first time since OESC Interim Director Shelley Zumwalt took the job, she says the agency saw a drop in first time unemployment claims by around 50,000. At the same time, she says the number of continued claims is still in the rise.
“Since I’ve arrived at the agency we’ve managed to process over $200 million every single week,” Zumwalt told News 4. “So we are seeing a record number of claims being paid out, although I realize there are still some people waiting for relief and have back claims that they need paid.”
OESC regional offices are now allowing people to have face-to-face meetings with agents again, either by appointment or walk-in, but some are waiting hours to speak with someone in hopes of getting their claims fixed.
Dena Hayes was in line for an appointment at an office in Midwest City on Monday.
She says she was receiving payments from OESC until running into an issue on Sunday night.
“It denied me because the computer started doing it itself. After it did that, it just shut the phone off,” Dena said. “I called back again, they told me I could go back in there and redo it, but it wouldn’t let me do it.”
Dena says she went to the regional office around 8 a.m. on Monday and was waiting in line with 50 to 60 other people.
Hours later, she was still waiting to meet with an agent.
If that wasn’t bad enough, what really made her mad is what one of the workers told her.
“She told me out of her mouth that they be cutting off the system,” Dena told News 4. “shutting it down.”
Dena Claims the worker told her the system was shut down on Sunday night in the middle of filing her claim, something Zumwalt says is not the case.
“As people are filing claims they could encounter an issue with their personal claim that they need to get worked out,” Zumwalt said. “As far as a system wide outage, no, there was not that.”
Zumwalts doesn’t know why Dena was told that, but said she’s looking into it.
She also says they are doing everything they can to see as many people as possible at the regional offices that have been slammed with appointment since they opened.
“They are very very busy, Zumwalt said. “We’ve additional signed some temp agency workers to answer phones, do that type of stuff, so that we can free up our claims agents to make sure they can process claims for people going to the regional offices.”
Zumwalt told News 4 that since she joined OESC, the agency was paid out more that $200 million each week.