FORT MILL, S.C. -- The 81-year-old parents of disgraced evangelist Jim Bakker queued up yesterday to file for unemployment compensation based on their firing by the current PTL leadership.

Raleigh and Furnia Bakker applied with the state Employment Security Department in Rock Hill, saying their son is destitute and cannot afford to support them.

"Jim cannot help," Bakker said. "If I was still working, I would have to help him. He's hard up. He should apply {for unemployment}."

Court-appointed PTL trustee David Clark last month fired the Bakkers, who are drawing Social Security, in what ministry officials called a cost-cutting move. The couple still lives in a house they own on the grounds of Heritage USA in Fort Mill.

"They said they didn't need us anymore," Bakker said. "We try to tell the partners the truth, and they know we're doing that.

"It's like a Gestapo down there. Just because our name is Bakker, they are trying to get rid of all of us," he said. "Anybody speaks out for Jim, they get fired."

The younger Bakker quit the ministry last year following revelations of a sex and money scandal at PTL. The Rev. Jerry Falwell, a Baptist preacher from Lynchburg, Va., took over, then led the ministry into bankruptcy court, citing its indebtedness of more than $60 million.

Falwell initiated a series of layoffs before he quit 6 1/2 months later. Among those dismissed were Bakker's brother Norm, and his wife Dorothy, who were fired last July.

This is the second time the elder Bakkers have been sacked at PTL. Falwell associate Harry Hargrave fired them last summer from their jobs as greeters, but rehired them at greatly reduced salaries -- from a combined $34,000 to total compensation of $12,000 a year.

The elderly Bakkers receive Social Security and he has a pension from the piston-ring factory where he once worked.

Since their son resigned from PTL, the couple has continued to attend the daily "PTL Club" television show.