Published in: Banks | March 31, 2020

How to Apply for Unemployment in Oklahoma

By:  Dana George

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Losing your job can be a shock, and you may have questions regarding how to file for unemployment benefits. Here's what you need to know. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many Americans hard. In fact, the state of Oklahoma has experienced an unprecedented number of unemployment claims. If you're an Oklahoman and find yourself without a job, you may have questions regarding unemployment insurance. Here, we provide answers.

The Oklahoma state flag in front of a blue sky and white clouds.

Image source: Getty Images

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

In order to qualify for unemployment benefits in Oklahoma, you must:

  • Be unemployed through no fault of your own
  • Be able and available to work
  • Have earned enough wages during your base period to qualify for benefits. "Base period" refers to the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. If you’re filing in March 2020, your base period will be October 2018 through September 2019. If you’re filing in April 2020, your base period will be January through December 2019.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) recently announced that it was closing all public access to its offices in an attempt to protect the health of employees. Although OESC staff are working remotely, office closures mean the easiest, most efficient way to file an unemployment claim is on the website.

Be prepared to provide the following:

  • Name (including prior names), mailing address, telephone number, and email address (if you have one)
  • Social Security number or Alien Registration Number and expiration date, if you're a non-citizen
  • Information regarding the last employer you worked for, including company name (as it appears on your pay stub), complete address, company phone number, and supervisor's name
  • The reason you no longer work for your last employer
  • If you have served in the military in the last 18 months, provide a DD Form 214 Member 4
  • If you were employed by the Federal government in the last 18 months, provide a Form SF 8 an SF 50
  • Oklahoma Driver's License or ID card number (if applicable)
  • Names of any other employers you have worked for in the past 18 months
  • Period of employment (start date and end date) of all listed employers
  • Wages earned from each employer and how you were paid (hourly, weekly, or monthly)

If you need to speak with an unemployment claim representative, call (800) 555-1554.  

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits? 

The amount you receive will be specific to how much you earned. OESC calculates your benefits by locating the amount you earned during the highest quarter of your base period and dividing that number by 23. For example, if you earned $7,000 during your highest quarter, your weekly benefit would be $304 ($7,000 ÷ 23 = $304). The maximum weekly benefit is $539.

You will be asked to choose between two payment options: direct deposit to your bank account or a preloaded debit card.

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?  

Unemployment benefits can be collected for up to 26 weeks. However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If your unemployment claim is denied for any reason, you have a right to appeal to an Appeal Tribunal. You will be sent a Notice of Hearing informing you of when a hearing will be scheduled. Register for your hearing by signing in online or calling the telephone number found on your Notice of Hearing. If you're unhappy with the decision of the Appeal Tribunal, you can appeal again -- this time to the Board of Review. You have 10 days from the date the Appeal Tribunal's decision was mailed to you to appeal to the Board of Review.

You probably have a cascade of thoughts running through your mind right now, but your immediate job is to avoid financial disaster, and unemployment benefits can help you do that.

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