The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission is testing it's technology to make sure they can get extra money added to people's unemployment checks. The additional money is from President Trump's executive order last month.
Even though the OESC has hired more people and added a new website, lots of people are still waiting on unemployment benefits. "There are so many officials, but they can only do so much. They don't have the resources, they don't have the capacity to assist this magnitude of response." The system is so outdated, it's 40 years old and it's not made for a pandemic," said Vanessa Hicks.
Hicks lost her job in June. Since then, she's gotten a job, but still hasn't received unemployment benefits from the federal cares act from March.
Now, President Trump has approved a second round of unemployment money, but Oklahomans still haven't received it. "From a distribution of funds standpoint really the only thing about that benefit that was similar from the 600 dollar and the 300 dollar payment was that they both had two zeros beyond that it's a completely different program," said Shelley Zumwalt.
Zumwalt is the Executive Director of OESC and in August, Oklahoma was one of the first states to get approval for the president's new funding. "That was actually purposeful because we knew that working with our 40 year old main frame it was going to take a significant development hours to implement this program," said Zumwalt.
She said they're hoping to get the additional $300 out to Oklahomans possibly by next week, but they're still testing the technology. Then the money can go into people's bank accounts. Hicks is wondering when she'll get the federal dollars promised months ago. "That relief is going to help families and children and pay bills and I just feel like it's there, but you can't get any access to it. The resources… I feel like Oklahoma has been failed," said Hicks.