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State representative speaking out against unemployment delays

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Posted at 9:00 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 22:03:21-04

TULSA, Okla. — Hours on hold everyday and still no answers. That has become the common frustration for thousands of Oklahomans out of work because of COVID-19, trying to get unemployment.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission's website says high call volumes have increased their wait time and thanks everyone for being patient.

However, one state representative says the time for patience is over.

Representative Mickey Dollens of the 93 District says OESC and Governor Kevin Stitt have had ample time to make needed changes since the pandemic put people out of work.

Dollens took to Facebook to address his concerns.

"I truly thought I could help clarify and work through pain points in the unemployment application process," Dollens said. "I feel I have been misled and we are being asked to chase a moving target."

Dollens says OESC officials told him part of the delaying funds is possible wide spread fraudulent claims.

"This truly disheartens me to imagine that the very agency who should be helping people make ends meet during this trying time is more worried about investigating a few bad apples," Dollens said.

He says he was told there were approximately 85,000 possible fraudulent claims, but says the bad should not outweigh the good.

"I would challenge you to find 85,000 Oklahomans who haven't been financially affected by COVID-19," Dollens said. "And also had the time to weed through the cumbersome application process to apply fraudulently for unemployment."

Dollens says OESC and Gov. Stitt have failed the people of Oklahoma.

In a statement, David Ostrowe, the secretary of digital transformation for OESC, said, "It is extremely disheartening that during this period when we should all be pulling together to help one another that some officials want to play partisan politics and take the focus away from the job we are here to do, which is help our fellow Oklahomans.”

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