Oklahoma Unemployment Benefits
The purpose of Unemployment Insurance is to provide monetary assistance to eligible claimants during the times of unemployment. Eligible claimants for unemployment benefits in Oklahoma is selected by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC).
The UI benefits is an interim monetary income given to those who have lost their jobs for no fault of their own. It is to help such individuals during their phase of transition as they try to get other employment opportunities.
Eligibility to Apply for UI Benefits in Oklahoma
The first step to applying for UI in Oklahoma is to read and thoroughly understand the eligibility criteria to qualify for benefits. The requirements are branched out into three categories- monetary eligibility, job-separation requirements, and maintaining eligibility after qualifying for benefits.
As soon as you file the initial application for unemployment benefits in Oklahoma, you will receive a ‘Monetary Determination’ letter from OESC. The following information will be made available on the Monetary Determination letter:
- Your employers who paid unemployment taxes on your wages during your base period
- The start date of your benefit year will be mentioned in the determination letter. The base year begins on the Sunday of the week you file your initial claim and ends exactly in a year’s time
- Your weekly benefit amount (WBA)
- Your maximum benefit amount (MBA)
- Messages on your eligibility or overpayments on a prior claim
In order to receive the Monetary Determination letter from the OESC, you must have gained monetary eligibility for UI benefits. To do so, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must have earned a minimum of $1,500 during your base period
- The total wages earned must be one and one-half times your high quarter
In Oklahoma, your Weekly Benefits Amount (WBA) will be decided on the basis of the wages you earned in your highest-earning quarter. Your WBA will be 1/23rd of your highest earning quarter. The minimum WBA given will not be less than $16, and the maximum WBA receivable is capped at $520 as of 2019.
For instance, if you earned $7000 in your highest-earning quarter, your WBA will be ($7000/23) $304.34. If in the event, your income is $14,000, your WBA will be $520 (although 14000/23 is $608.69, the maximum WBA receivable in Oklahoma is $520).
Once you establish your monetary eligibility, you will be asked to state the reason for separating from the previous organization you worked in. The reason for job separation is a crucial parameter to gain qualification for unemployment benefits in Oklahoma.
It must be noted that you may be monetarily eligible, but may still fail to qualify for Oklahoma unemployment benefits for other reasons. One of the crucial conditions to be remembered is that you must have separated from your previous organization due to no fault of your own. If you separated from your previous organization based on your own will or if you were fired due to your own actions, you will not be qualified for UI benefits.
The OESC groups the reason for separation under main titles-
- Discarded or Fired
- Quitting your job
You may be gain eligibility for the payment of unemployment benefits if you were discharged or fired from your previous job. The OESC will launch an investigation to inquire about the reason for your job separation. If it is found that the reason for discharging or firing you from your previous organization is misconduct, you shall be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits in Oklahoma.
The following are some of the reasons that are considered as misconduct in Oklahoma:
- Any act by the employee resulting in a substantial breach of the employee’s duties as dictated in the contract of employment
- Uninformed or unapproved absenteeism
- Any act perpetrated by the employee that would endanger the health, property, and/or life of self or others
- Concrete proof against the employee for being dishonest or concealing crucial information relating to the organization
- Employee indulging in unethical, immoral and illegal activities, propelling the company to offload the employee
You may stand a chance to qualify for unemployment benefits if you left the job on your own. You must, however, prove that you had a good cause to leave the organization. Good causes may include:
- Woking condition of the organization has deteriorated so bad that it has become harmful or detrimental for personal health
- Unfair treatment by the employer, creating a difficult workplace environment
- Not receiving timely remuneration for work
It must be noted that the burden of proof lies on the claimants. Also, if it comes down to the claimant’s word against the employer’s word, it may not help in proving good cause for quitting.
Gaining monetary eligibility and establishing an acceptable reason for separating from the previous organization will help you qualify for UI benefits. However, you may still be disqualified if you fail to follow all the required procedures during the benefit week.
Some of the reasons that may lead to the disqualification of unemployment benefits are:
- You are not able to work or were unavailable for work during the benefit period
- You refused a suitable job offer or referral to a suitable offer without reason
- You have failed to participate in the prescribed reemployment services
- You have failed to look for work in the benefit weeks
- You have not met a minimum of two employers as a part of the prescribed work search requirements
- You’ve concealed the fact that you’ve found work
- You’ve concealed your sources of income
- You’re not a citizen of the United States and have no authorization to work in the country
- Your deductible pension pay is greater than your weekly benefits amount
- You’re a member of a union that was involved in a strike
How to Apply For UI Benefits in Oklahoma
You can apply for unemployment benefits using two methods in Oklahoma- online and telephone. Prior to this, in order to apply, you must make sure to submit the following documents.
The online interface also called as Oklahoma Network Initial Claims (ONIC) provides various services to the users, which includes submitting the application for benefits. Log on to https://unemployment.state.ok.usto avail the following services:
- File a new claim or reopen an existing unemployment claim
- View and print form 1099
- Change your address
- Change your PIN
- Get more details on the electronic payment options
- File appeals
If the absence of the option to log on to the website, you may also place a call to file for benefits. Contact your center in the normal business hours to file your weekly claim:
UI Benefit Amount
The Unemployment Insurance Benefits Calculator will assist you to find out the approximate UI Benefits amount that he/she may receive in the state of Oklahoma.
Things to Know After Filing An Application
To take full advantage of all the services provided by OESC, you should be aware of all the rules and regulations prescribed by the organization. Also, the OESC provides opportunities for job-seekers to improve their skill sets and get better opportunities through training programs and job drives.
It is, thus, important to be aware of all the fine details with respect to UI benefits to make complete use of it.
Overpayments and Fraud
Overpayments are classified into three groups by the OESC, which are as follows:
- Claimant Error Overpayment
- Administrative Overpayment
- Fraud Overpayment
Claimant Error Overpayment
This type of overpayment occurs when a claimant receives an overpayment due to a mistake of law or fact, resulting in an ensuing false claim. This may occur in the form of a false statement or failure to disclose a material fact unintentionally by the claimant.
In the event of the occurrence of a claimant error, the individual is expected to return the excessive amount received. In addition to that, the claimant will have to pay an interest of 1% on the unpaid dues of the overpayment. If the claimant fails to make the payment, the OESC will have the right to deduct the amount in question from any future benefits payable to the individual.
The administrative overpayment occurs in two scenarios, they are:
- A claimant has received any sum as benefits under the Employment Security Act, 1980 because of a mistake by the OESC itself or an employer
- The benefit amount claimed by an individual is reduced or stopped due to a redetermination or reversal on appeal
In the case of administrative overpayment, the claimant is liable to pay back the excessive amount received. The OESC will have the right to deduct the unpaid amount from future benefits payable. There will be no interest levied on the repayment of the administrative overpayment.
Fraud overpayments occur when an individual makes false or misleading statements intentionally and have received benefit amount for which he/she is not entitled. If the OESC finds out that a claimant has used fraudulent methods to get unemployment benefits in Oklahoma, the said person will be made to face the ensuing repercussions.
Some examples of fraud include, but is limited to:
- Not properly reporting job separation details
- Not properly reporting monetary earnings of the claimant, or not properly disclosing the source of the income
- Providing the PIN number to others
- Allowing other people to file for UI benefits on your behalf
The individual in question will have to pay the overpayment amount received. Along with it, he/she will also have to pay a penalty of 25% on the total overpayment sum and an added interest of 1% on the unpaid amount.
The OESC may also file a criminal prosecution in a court of law against the claimant, which may lead to a jail sentence. The OESC will also have the right to deduct the amount owed to it in the future benefits payable.
The OESC may deduct your earnings from other sources to offset overpayments, which include:
- State income tax refund intercept
- Federal income tax refund intercept
- Bank account lien and/or Property lien
- Garnishment of wages from future
- Future employer of the claimant
There are no federally funded or state-operated benefit extension programs active at present. The applicant may contact the OESC to determine the current available Reemployment Assistance plans.
Job Training Assistance
The OESC has designed training programs to assist job seekers in improving their competency in the job market. The claimants must make sure to apply only for ‘approved training’ to retain eligibility for UI benefits.
Approved training programs are those that allow claimants to attend training or school while drawing the weekly benefit amount. The claimant will be exempt from submitting the work search reports while attending training programs. They must, however, submit their progress report in their respective programs.
Any training program that the claimant wishes to attend must be approved by the OESC. Some of the training programs provided by OESC are:
Regular approved training: There will be no monetary assistance given under the regular-approved training programs. However, the job-seeker will not have to submit the work search requirement but instead must submit a report on satisfactory attendance and progress in the training.
Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA) approved training: The state of Oklahoma may be allowed to offset a part of the tuition for candidates who qualify WIOA approved training.
Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA) approved training: The TAA is a federally funded program that is provided to those who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade. The program provides an opportunity for such people to get additional training or schooling to gain competency in the job market.
The TRA program is designed for those who are qualified for the TAA program. TRA provides monetary assistance after the normal UI benefits program is expired.
If you are looking for training programs to improve your skillset, The Missouri Division of Workforce Development offers Eligible Training Provider System (ETPS) to help you find training programs that are suited to you.
The ETPS is an online list of education and training providers who offers programs that are approved by WIOA or other similar federal funding programs.
Most jobs require specialized training that is well beyond a high school diploma. Most employers prefer candidates who have undergone at least a short-term training backed by industry-level credentials. It, therefore, becomes crucial to identify the appropriate training programs that add value to your profile.
To assist you in finding the right training program, the MoScores page allows you to find the training programs that are suited to your requirements.