Computer Glitch Delays Claims For Unemployed Oklahomans

Monday, June 7th 2010, 4:57 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6  

UNDATED -- A computer glitch affected tens of thousands of unemployed Oklahomans over the weekend. Specifically those with an extended benefits claim.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says since the U.S. Senate didn't file to extend the deadline their computers didn't reprogram correctly.

"Sometimes you tend to count your chickens before they hatch and you should never do that and that's what I have done," said Pamela Redwine, unemployed Oklahoman.

Pamela Redwine says she counts on her unemployment check every week just to pay for basic necessities.

"It's kind of thrown the budget a little bit," she said. "Have to wait to buy groceries and stuff, and the gas prices today. I mean it affects everything down the line."

Redwine was laid off from her job with Nautilus in December 2008. Her husband lost his job this past November.

She's in school for paralegal studies, but until she graduates and finds a job, she says she must rely on unemployment.

So like clockwork on Sunday morning around 2 a.m., she and her husband logged online to file their unemployment claim. But the claim didn't go through.

This is the message Redwine saw: "Payment not made this week because eligibility has been denied based on Oklahoma law."

"The main reason for this one is the going back and forth of having the extended unemployment compensation and then it expires," said Jerry Pectol, OESC Director of Unemployment Insurance. "This is about the fifth time that Congress has allowed it to expire.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says the glitch is fixed. But not before the error affected 35,000 unemployed Oklahomans.

6/2/2010 Related Story: Southeast Oklahoma Counties Top Unemployment Rate

The OESC says claims filed on Sunday will process on Monday, meaning payments will be made one day late.

A relief to Redwine, but she says she the panic hasn't subsided.

Computers are only as smart as the people that are programming them or using them," she said. "They are not really human and there is mistakes made all the time. I make them and I'm not a programmer. So I understand. It's an understanding of why is Murphy's Law happening today?"

If you have any questions, call the unemployment insurance call centers at 1-800-555-1554.