COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance FAQs & Important Messages

Authored By: Oklahoma Employment Security Commission



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


  • 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. 
  • 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 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  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 and clicking the “Claimant Access” link or "Continue" button. 
  • 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 and clicking the “Claimant Access” link or "Continue" button. 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 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: Mar 27, 2020

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