In the last few days, hundreds of people could be seen lined up outside the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, waiting for answers.
For some, they arrived at OESC the night before and waited outside until the next morning. Many prepared for the long wait by bringing lawn chairs and even tents.
“What about the people who have no money coming in? Zero, what are they supposed to do?” said Mark Clarke, who stood in line for hours.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 began impacting the state a few months ago, many have filed for unemployment, but for some, they’re still trying to get help.
“I would be on the phone for an hour in a half, no answer, hour in a half to get somebody,” said Clarke. “This has gone on for weeks.”
Many who we talked to say they’re frustrated with a number of problems including being a victim to fraud and trying to get back pay. With hundreds of people waiting outside the office every morning, OESC have set a cut off of 170 walk-ins per day.
“I was here Monday waited seven hours,” said Reggie Dowdy. “I was seen, I was number 133 and the lady spent an hour with me and the issue wasn’t resolved because she said there was a glitch in the computer system.”
OESC Interim Director Shelley Zumwalt said they will open the Reed Center in Midwest City next week to help process claims.
“That’s why we booked the Reed Center. If we tried to take more than a certain number, I’m afraid we’d have a different situation on our hands and have to shut down,” said Zumwalt.
OESC said that new location will open starting at 7 a.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.