LegalAidOK.orgOklahoma

COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance FAQs & Important Messages

Authored By: Oklahoma Employment Security Commission
Contents

Link: www.ok.gov

Information

You can also file a claim on line quickly and access self-service features by clicking the “Claimant Access” link at Unemployment.ok.gov

FAQs

  • Can I just apply for the Pandemic Unemployment boost payments?
    • You must apply for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) before applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Here is a step-by-step guide with screenshots for how to file initial and weekly claims for PUA (English Spanish Vietnamese)
    • As of July 23, 2020, the PUA boost will end on July 31, 2020. Since unemployment benefits are filed by week (Sun–Sat), the last weekly claim to file that falls within the program time frame will be July 25.
  • How do I apply for Unemployment?
    • Start by reading these steps to be sure you qualify.  You will also need some information before you start.  Get started here
  • I'm ready, where do I begin?
  • Do I have to make work searches during the COVID-19 pandemic?
    • No. At this time the OESC has waived the work search requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the required number of work search contacts is zero, individuals should respond “yes” when asked if the required number of work search contacts have been made when filing a weekly claim for benefits. 
  • What do I need to do after I complete the initial online filing for unemployment?
    • You do have to register with OKJobMatch within seven days of filing for unemployment benefits.  Once you file, use your username to register within seven days at OKJobMatch
      • If you don't register, you will delay your benefits.
    • Come back every week to reapply and continue to receive benefits.
    • Once you have been determined to be eligible, your information will be sent to our card vendor, and you will be issued an OKJobMatch card. There may still be requirements to receive payments on your card, such as your weekly filing.
      • Because of the ongoing COVID-19 situation and delays with the mail, it may take 16 - 18 business days before you receive your Unemployment Insurance debit card.
      • If you have received unemployment benefits in the past three years, you may not receive a new card.  Use your existing card.
      • If you know your card number and pin, you can access the Conduent IVR or website.
      • You can use your SSN, DOB, and PIN to request a new card via the Conduent IVR or website.
      • If you do not have your card number and PIN, then you may have to request a new card through the Conduent website or the Way2Go mobile app available on the iOS and Google app stores.
    • As of Oct 1, 2019, if you have never received unemployment benefits and you've been recently eligible or had a recent deposit to your account for benefits, your card might have been already issued.
      • You can set up direct deposit if you have not yet received your card. This will increase your speed of delivery of benefits. Do this at www.goprogram.com
    • Find anything you need to know about unemployment insurance in one location with our Reemployment Assistance for the Unemployed booklet.
  • Do I have to serve a waiting period during the COVID-19 pandemic?
    • No. The Governor has signed an Executive Order waiving the waiting period. All claims filed with an effective date of 3/15/20 or later will have the waiting period waived as long as the order remains in effect.
  • How are payments made?
    • An Unemployment Insurance benefit debit card will be issued to you at the time your first eligible week processes.  It normally takes between 7-10 days to receive the card.  Do not throw the debit card away.  You have two options to receive unemployment insurance payments.  You may receive your payments via the prepaid debit card or you may direct transfer the payments from the prepaid debit card into your own U.S. banking account, for no fee. To receive payments to the debit card, you must activate the card by following the instructions sent with the card. To set up this recurring direct transfer, you must activate your card and then visit www.goprogram.com or call 1-866-320-8699 and use the automated system to enter your banking information. If you wish to set up direct deposit without activating your card, you must visit www.goprogram.com.  If you have previously been issued a debit card for payment within the past three years, your payment will be issued to that debit card unless otherwise specified.  If you no longer have your previously issued debit card, please contact our payment processing vendor at 1-866-320-8699.
  • Who can file unemployment?
    • Unemployment insurance is a temporary income intended for individuals who have experienced a loss of work due to no fault of their own when suitable work is not available. It is an insurance paid by employers. 
  • How do I file?
    • A claim for unemployment benefits may be filed by visiting unemployment.ok.gov, read the statement about fraud and agree that you are not engaging in any "misconduct" or trying to obtain benefits you do not qualify to recieve.  Then enter your social security number to continue.
  • Who is my separating employer?
    • The separating employer is the most recent employer for whom you have worked 15 days or more. This applies to individuals who are temporarily laid off and to those who have completely separated from employment. 
  • How do I know if my claim went through?
    • You can access information about your claim by visiting unemployment.ok.gov and entering your social securtity number to continue. You will find information regarding recent activity, monetary entitlement, and determinations of eligibility. 
  •  How do I know how much I’m eligible to receive?
    • Oklahoma’s maximum weekly benefit amount (WBA) for the year 2020 is $539. The amount that an individual qualifies for is based on wages earned from covered employers during the base period. The base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. You can access information about your claim by visiting unemployment.ok.gov and clicking the “Claimant Access” link. You can find information regarding recent activity, monetary entitlement, and determinations of eligibility. 
  • How is my weekly benefit amount calculated?
    • The amount you may receive weekly is one twenty-third (1/23) of the highest quarter of taxable wages in your base period not to exceed the maximum weekly benefit amount allowed by Oklahoma law. Taxable wages are those wages during your base period that are subject to unemployment tax. This is a tax paid by your employer and is not taken from your paycheck. If monetarily eligible, the weekly benefit amount will not be less than $16.00 nor more than the maximum allowed by law. In 2020 the maximum WBA is capped at $539.00. For example, if during your base period, your highest calendar quarter of taxable wages was $14,000, your weekly benefit amount would be $539. (Using this rule, $14,000 ÷ 23 = $608.70. The maximum benefit amount allowed by law for 2020 is $539, since $608.70 exceeds that amount, your weekly benefit amount would be $539.). 
  • Are there extensions available if I’ve previously exhausted my claim?
    • There are no extensions at this time, but if Congress enacts an extension (EUC) or disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) we will provide details on our web site.

Last Modified on 03/23/2020

Last Review and Update: Jul 23, 2020
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