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Local Unemployment Claims Still Up During Shutdown

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LAWTON Okla_ For most civilian federal workers, the furlough has been lifted.

Many workers who were not able to work last week returned Monday, but some were still sent home. So, more people filled the lines at Workforce Oklahoma, where people sign up for unemployment benefits.

Last week, the unemployment office saw more than twice the number of people they're used to dealing with, mostly from those on furlough. Workforce Oklahoma's Lawton Center Manager Vicki Jackson said there was a line outside the door before the center was ready to open Monday.

"We still had people coming in that hadn't received notice to go back to work," Jackson said. "I don't know what division they were in or anything."

For the people who have continued to be furloughed, they have a new date to pay attention to: October 22nd.

"If they go to work after the 22nd, then they're going to do work searches," Jackson said. "They're going to have to come in and get registered and take all the steps anyone else would to file for unemployment."

Monday was an improvement on last week. Jackson said they took over 220 claims for unemployment last Friday, which is way above the normal of around 75.

"We're always busy with unemployment, but nothing like this when we have a big layoff or a furlough like this, which we've never had," Jackson said. "So, it's been kind of crazy to get all the people in and out."

It's something they were not able to prepare for even with knowing the government could be shutting down.

"There's really no way of preparing for it when you don't know and you have all the staff the state can afford to give you," Jackson said. "All of our offices are working shorthanded."

If you are one of those who have been furloughed, you will want to check in with the Workforce Oklahoma office as soon as possible. To draw any unemployment, there is a one-week waiting period of no pay from the time that you filed.





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