Unemployment claim line problems cause panic across Oklahoma

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Thousands in the state had trouble filing claims for unemployment over the weekend, and the problems continued Monday.

Officials said the unemployment claims are supposed to be made on Sundays so payments can be sent the following morning.

When participants were told the issues will likely lead to delays, they became concerned.

“I lost my job of 14 years last Monday, and so I immediately called in to file for unemployment. You have to immediately start your job search and call in every Sunday to file your claim in,” said Victoria Blair.

She called to make her first claim for unemployment on Sunday.

When she entered her information on the phone, she was told to call back.

“I tried on and off all day long and couldn’t get through,” she said.

She also tried to file on the agency’s website, but the website was experiencing issues, as well.

Her frustration turned to fear.

“Because, I have no money coming in as of last Monday,” she said.

Unemployment officials said the problem was caused by scheduled electrical work this past weekend.

According to OG&E, there was an outage in one of the lines but power was restored.

Unemployment supervisors said the system computers had to be turned off and there were problems when they tried to turn the system back on.

The issues will now mean a delay in payments for thousands across the state.

“We all have financial responsibilities we have to make, not to mention eating. We have house payments, car payments, utilities," Blair said.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission went through a similar problem last July when its phone claim line was down for days.

Blair feels such a critical service should have better safeguards.

By Monday evening, the online system was back up, and the phone line was up and running, as well.

However, some have reported still experiencing problems.

We're told it will be a one-day delay for those who receive unemployment payments on a debit card and a two-day delay for direct deposit if the claims are made Monday.

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