OESC Holds Tulsa Events To Aid In Unemployment Claims

Wednesday, July 15th 2020, 6:04 pm
By: Mallory Thomas

TULSA, Okla. -

Wednesday, hundreds of people were at Tulsa's Expo Square to meet in person with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

The event is being held Wednesday and Thursday, and next week for people experiencing issues while filing for unemployment. People who spent their day waiting in line say it's worth the wait.

"Depending on how bad your situation is depends on how bad you want to get down here and get it done," said Micah Barnett. 

Micah Barnett said he spent more than six hours waiting in line to speak face to face with an OESC worker. "I was working full time and then I lost my job during the epidemic, then I lost my home, then my car, then my phone, and all my credentials with my kids stuff. So it's been real hard for me. I've been struggling and I ended up being homeless," said Barnett. 

Barnett said with libraries closed during the pandemic he's relied on friends for access to the OESC website, but still ran into issues. Bob Bates said he's had problems too.​ 

"Issues with trying to get completed on the website for pandemic unemployment assistance. So I'm here to try to make a homerun and get everything resolved," said Bates. 

OESC Interim Director Shelley Zumwalt said Bates and Barnett are two of more than seven hundred thousand to file unemployment claims in Oklahoma since the pandemic.​

 "That can be a rather long process. Almost two hours because they're filing four months of four weeks of claims, but we're happy to do it and we're glad that we can offer that service," said Zumwalt. 

Barnett said it's worth the wait to get unemployment approval and the benefits card in a matter of days.

"Definitely a home, definitely a vehicle, mostly just getting my life back together. That's mainly what I care about," said Barnett.