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Jobless Oklahomans search for aid, OESC reports continued claims decline

How President Trump’s ‘Low Wage Assistance’ order impacts unemployed workers
Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-01 19:16:03-05

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reports its 27th-straight week of declined jobless claims. 2 Works for You spoke with a pair of unemployed workers waiting to receive financial aid.

“When you don’t have anybody out there to help you, what are you supposed to do?” Keith Bishop said.

Bishop said injuries from a car wreck suffered in September left him unable to work.

Three months later, the Claremore, OK man awaits financial approval.

“They won’t let me work, you know what I mean, so why can’t I get my unemployment?” Bishop said. "Nobody wants to call me back and it's been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks."

The OESC reports initial unemployment claims across the state down 1,700 from the week before.

Mallory Lowe told 2 Works for You she cannot afford to wait much longer before desperation sets in.

"It just feels really helpless, like I can’t get any answers, I can’t get straight answers, I get different answers or I can’t get a hold of anyone and I have no light at the end of the tunnel," Lowe said.

Lowe said an OESC agent told her the agency needed to gather information from her former employer. She said that was three months ago.

She said her daily calls to the agency for updates go unanswered.

“One time I was on hold for an hour-and-a-half and when the girl answers she goes, ‘Our systems are down. Call back later.’ And that happens all the time," Lowe said.

Lowe said OESC employees assured her assistance is on the way, but she needs to wait.

As reported job claims drop week-by-week, so does Lowe's confidence in her own claim's approval. Doubt that her first check will ever arrive at her door.

"I actually fear I'm never going to get it," Lowe said.

Lowe said she is grateful for great support to go to for finances during this time. She said she is contemplating selling her vehicle to make ends meet.

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