OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission is planning an event to help claimants with backlogged unemployment claims.
For weeks, crowds have been gathering outside the OESC, lining up around the building.
“I got here at two o’clock in the morning,” said Colton Archibald, a claimant.
“We stayed all night. We brought a generator so we could have some electric. My husband brought cots, blankets, pillows, chairs,” said Santana Cisneros, another claimant waiting overnight.
Cisneros says she’s been waiting on her unemployment benefits for more than three months. Sunday was her second all-nighter at the OESC. Both efforts were fruitless.
“You’ll come up here hoping to get some help, or even when you talk to someone on the phone you think you’re gonna get some help, but there is no help,” she said.
Others were luckier.
“I got the 152nd spot,” said Archibald, who had been waiting all night.
Archibald walked away with money to pay his bills after waiting nearly 15 hours overnight.
“You go two and a half months without a paycheck you get a little desperate,” said Archibald.
Interim Director, Shelley Zumwalt says she comes to work in the morning greeted by the masses.
“Honestly, it’s heartbreaking,” she said.
OESC says at the Will Rogers building, it can only help 170 people per day.
“I was about number 215 maybe and they handed out the vouchers for the first 170 and told the rest of us to go home,” said Lisa Raines, another claimant.
Lisa Raines says she was turned away not once, but twice. She says now, she’s hoping for answers Wednesday, when the OESC moves into the Reed Center in Midwest City. Zumwalt says up to 500 people could be helped in one day.
“We want to serve as many people as possible,” said Zumwalt.
Claimants are allowed to line up starting at 6 a.m. and the doors will open at 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Zumwalt says upwards of 60 employees will be working the event but not all of them will be able to process claims.
“If there’s 3,000 of us waiting, why aren’t there 100 employees,” asked Raines.
The Reed Conference Center is located at 5800 Will Rogers Road in Midwest City.
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