Unemployment Problems Continue For Many Oklahomans

Monday, May 4th 2020, 5:05 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero

Thousands of Oklahomans have filed for unemployment and some tell News On 6 the system has been challenging, and weeks later they are still waiting for their money. 

"We just been sitting here waiting on these phone calls every single day with our phone in our hands just waiting for the phone call," says Kayla Parker. 

Parker was furloughed from her job back in April and says the past month has been a waiting game -- waiting by the computer or the phone to get help filing for unemployment. Parker claims the biggest problem FOR HER is just getting in touch with someone. 

"It's a lot for me when am I going to catch a break when are we going to catch a break," says Parker. 

Rosette Terrell has a different story -- she tells me she got a call back after waiting three weeks. "I got a hold of a nice gentleman who was very through and then I got two calls this morning actually from them -- I was like 'wow!'"

Oklahoma Secretary of Digital Transformation and Administration David Ostrowe said in a statement today -- "Claims are being paid at an unheard-of pace and our first priority is paying citizens who are due unemployment benefits." 

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission released new statistics today: 

• OESC has paid 432,076 unemployment claims since March 15, 2020 

• OESC has paid $432,998.341 in total benefits since March 15, 2020 

• OESC has 63,589 claims still pending 

• OESC has paid $258,079,934 in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation since March 15, 2020

The OESC also said they are in a partnership with the Office of Management and Enterprise Services to update the ageing infrastructure that has been stretched during the pandemic. OESC is working with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to investigate instances of identity fraud and suspicious claims that have been filed.

Terrell says she's getting her money in 48 hours -- and wants others to know there is success with the system. 

"To give somebody hope. We are getting calls! I've been reading all the ones that's been 4 to 7 weeks ---and I just want to give somebody hope out there that we are getting calls," Terrel said.