Oklahomans continue to wait in line for unemployment benefits


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Wednesday was another day of long lines outside the Oklahoma Employment Commission. 

Hundreds of people waiting in line starting at 3 a.m. 

“If I wasn’t staying with my friend I’d be on the streets and not eating,” said Jason Hart. 

It’s a tragic story, familiar to so many Oklahomans right now. 

“Now we’re dealing with a logistical hell in the matter of the state and the unemployment office and their way to answer to what we really are owed,” said his friend and former co-worker Benjiman Alley.

It’s been a nightmare for hundreds of people waiting in line at the OESC. 

Staff tells us they accepted about 175 people Wednesday. 

Two of those people, Jason Hart and Benjamin Alley. 

They got in line at 4:30 a.m.

They both worked as political canvassers before the pandemic began, a job that requires a lot of face-to-face interaction. 

“With the coronavirus you can’t really be walking up to everybody and be like here’s the same pen that a lot of people have used go ahead and fill out this form,” said Hart. 

Since they lost those jobs, Jason has been staying with Benjamin. 

Benjamin got his money earlier on. 

Jason had the same job, with the same company, and even worked there a little bit longer than his friend. 

Jason is still waiting. 

“I got a call from him late in the night he’s the kind of person who doesn’t want to ask help from anybody and I’m so glad he got a hold of us to actually give him a place for now,” said Alley. 

Now with no where left to turn, he’s hoping he can at least get some answers.

“I have all my forms filled out already, and triplicates at this point, let’s go ahead and make sure we have everything right at this point so you can actually pay me the money that you owe me and I can actually stay in my own house instead of staying with a friend,” said Hart. 

The OESC said they had to turn away about 15 people Wednesday, but gave them other places they could go that will be open Thursday and Friday. 

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