MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – On the eighth and final day of its unemployment claims processing event in Midwest City, Oklahomans in need of help showed up to the Reed Convention Center to work face-to-face with OESC representatives.
After helping more than 3,500 Oklahomans in the metro area, the event moves to Tulsa on Wednesday to help folks on the eastern side of the state.
Claimants who had passes for Tuesday’s event made sure they got to the Reed Convention Center early and they got help fast this morning.
The OESC is working to help everyone as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible before they pack up to head to Tulsa.
Before 7 a.m. Tuesday, names were called – names of claimants ready to receive help.
“So, hopefully everything goes good today and they actually just called me,” said claimant Antonieo Wand.
For three weeks, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has been helping Oklahomans struggling to file for unemployment.
Day one saw long lines – desperation evident – with them forming overnight.
Over time, a numbered pass system helped guarantee spots.
“I came here last Thursday and I wasn’t in line for very long and they were like, well, if this is your first time come get this piece of paper and come back in a week,” said claimant Jeremy Marler.
The OESC is ironing out issues including fraud, an outdated computer system, difficulty answering questions, language barriers, a tied up phone system and more.
“It’s just been one headache after another,” Marler said.
OESC Interim Director Shelley Zumwalt says when she took over the agency in May, claims were at 129,000. At these events, more than 3,500 Oklahomans have been helped.
But the need is still there.
Zumwalt says 7,000 claims are still pending and there’s about 45,000 people who have either entered their information into the system and never filed a weekly claim, or just haven’t entered all of their information.
All of them – Oklahomans just trying to bills.
“I just recently started back work so I’m at Del Taco, so I’m excited about that but I still have things to pay so hopefully go ahead and get things approved so I can get everything paid off,” said Wand.
The Tulsa event begins tomorrow at 7 a.m. at the Tulsa Expo Center.
Agents will begin helping claimants again Wednesday morning at their eastside OKC location as well as their Shawnee location.
- ‘This is Us’ premiere to re-air due to power outages
- Some state agencies to delay non-essential services on Wednesday
- OG&E: No timeframe for power restoration across Oklahoma City metro
- Storms, Heavy Rain Through Thursday Morning
- Ohio woman creates Baby Yoda from 451-pound pumpkin