After hitting an all-time high in April, the number of new unemployment claims is starting to level out. But with the entire unemployment across the US now sat at around 40 million, it's still just a little early to start popping those champagne corks yet. The COVID-19 crisis has already established a devasting impact on the US economy, with no state left untouched by its effects. As 247wallst.com notes, in Oklahoma, 23.7% of the workforce is now unemployed, representing single,280.3% jump on unemployment claims when compared with this time last year. If you're among those that have lost their income because of the pandemic, Unemployment Insurance benefits (UI) could be crucial in seeing you through the approaching weeks. Here, we check out what you'll need to do to file for unemployment In Oklahoma.
If you're hoping to claim UI, you'll first need to ask yourself whether you satisfy the eligibility requirements dictated through the state. Typically, you'll need to answer 'yes' to all of the following in order to progress claims:
- Are you legally authorized to work in North America?
- Are you able and prepared to work?
- Are you actively seeking new employment?
- Did you lose your last job through no-fault of your own?
- Have you registered on OK Job-Match?
- Did you make at least $1,500 in the first four of the last five completed quarters?
We say 'typically'- since the CARES Act came into play in March 2021, certain rules regulating the work-search requirement of the eligibility criteria happen to be relaxed. Now, if you've been put on furlough because of COVID; either have it or have been ordered to quarantine after exposure; would be the primary caregiver to some that has it or is in quarantine; or can't make a start because of school closures, you're still able to claim UI even if you aren't in a position to actively seek new employment. Exactly the same applies if you've been asked to work reduced hours for any defined period: while you won't be able to claim full benefits, you should be in a position to request partial benefits if your previous income meets the minimum income requirements. Additionally, self-employed persons, gig workers, and freelancers (none who would normally be entitled to file) will also be eligible to claim under the new rules.
How to File for Unemployment in Oklahoma
If you've checked your eligibility and everything looks good, it's time to get started on filing. Bear in mind that claims are backdated simply to the date you file, to not your last day at work, so try to get it done as soon as possible after becoming unemployed or switching to reduced hours. In Oklahoma, you've got two options to file:
- Online in the website of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
- By calling 405-525-1500 if you are inside the Oklahoma City area and 800-555-1554 if you're outside it.
As part of the application, you will need to provide full name, address, and phone details for both yourself and any employers you've worked for within the last 18 months. You'll also need to confirm your SSN, and if you're in receipt of any severance pay out of your last employer. If you've worked within the military or for the government within the last 18 months, additional forms will be needed. These can be from the Oklahoma State website. Based on whether you prefer to be paid by debit card or bank deposit, there is also to confirm your bank account information.
How Much and For How Long Can I Claim?
The amount you obtain in weekly benefits will be determined by your previous earnings. Under state rules, you'll get a weekly amount equal to 1/23rd of the highest quarter of taxable wages on your base period, up to the most permitted by state law. In addition to what the state pays, you will also get a flat payment of $600 each week until the end of July. Introduced as part of the CARES ACT, the payment is intended to relieve some of the financial burden resulting from the COVD crisis. The state will automatically calculate what you are entitled to and for how long, so don't be concerned about submitting any additional information beyond your initial claim to benefit. Generally, UI is payable for up to 26 weeks in any 52-week period. However, the CARES Act extends this by one more 13 weeks, meaning you can keep to claim for up to 39 weeks as a whole.
Filing Weekly Claims
Now you've filed your initial claim, don't sit back and relax thinking your job is done. In order to receive payment, you will need to certify your claim weekly. You can do this either online or by telephone – whichever method you choose, just make sure you don't forget. If you miss one week, you'll be unable to claim benefits for that week in question. Start your weekly claims within 14 days of your initial claim, even if your application is still being reviewed.
Once you've filed your application, you'll need to play a waiting game as the state reviews your application. When they request any further information meant for the claim, it's important to respond as quickly as possible to prevent any unnecessary delays. If you don't reply in a timely manner, they may decide to base their decision solely on the information they already have. If that information isn't accurate, it may end up having a negative effect on your eligibility.
Typically, you'll receive confirmation of whether your claim has been successful within 3 weeks. If your claim is denied, you will find the right to appeal by following the procedure outlined in the Notice of Determination their state will send in confirmation of the decision. If you do log an appeal, be sure to continue to file your weekly benefits claims throughout; if you do not, you won't be eligible to claim payment for that missed weeks if your appeal is subsequently upheld.