Oklahomans Not Qualified For Unemployment Benefits Look For Options To Make Ends Meet

Friday, March 27th 2020, 2:26 pm
By: News On 6

As the number of unemployment claims reach record highs in Oklahoma, there are many who don’t qualify for benefits.

Ashley Ryan, owner of Stash Apparel & Gifts near 37th and Peoria, showed News On 6 her store filled with inventory that’s had no shoppers for the past week.

“It’s kind of eerie,” said Ryan. “It’s kind of just a little weird.”

Being self-employed means Ryan doesn’t qualify for unemployment benefits while her business is closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, she’s making custom gift boxes to deliver locally, quadrupling her online orders.

“Now, it’s the most exciting ever when you get an online order come through and it’s somebody, you know, that shops here regularly and you’re like, ‘I know you don’t even need this but thank you so much for buying it,’” said Ryan.

Lynn Wheatley is also doing what she can to keep her business running.

She owns Lasting Impressions and Bride in a Box in Tulsa.

Wheatley said both businesses have been rescheduling events and weddings to the fall.

“We’re going to drain our savings, probably,” said Wheatley. “No, I know we are. And the good thing is we can plan right now. People are still going to get married; they’re still going to have events.”

Rachel Hutchings with Workforce Tulsa said a lot of people have called her office.

Here’s her message to those confused and worried about their future:

“There are still options out there for people and don’t give up and keep up the hope because there are still jobs to be had.”

Wheatley is staying optimistic.

She turned free flowers into bouquets and had volunteers deliver them to senior centers and hospitals.

“The one bright spot, if there is a bright spot, is that everybody is coming together,” said Wheatley.

Workforce Tulsa now has an online enrollment where you can sign up for help with a job application or find the best fit. There are all kinds of resources at workforcetulsa.com.

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