Oklahoma Unemployment Benefit Questions
How do I apply for Oklahoma unemployment benefits?
Unemployed individuals can apply for Oklahoma unemployment benefits online through the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. To be eligible, you must be unemployed through no fault of your own, be available to work, and meet Oklahoma’s other requirements for earnings during the base period.
To begin the application process, you must create an account on the website. From there, you can answer questions about your unemployment to help the Commission determine whether you’re eligible. Be prepared with information about your job, such as an employer contact name and number, earnings documentation, and the circumstances surrounding your unemployment.
Individuals who would rather apply for Oklahoma unemployment benefits by phone or in person can do so by locating their nearest Oklahoma Works office.
How much money will I receive?
The amount you earn on unemployment in Oklahoma depends on how much you’ve previously earned from your employer during the first four out of five of the prior quarters, also known as the base period for unemployment. The higher your wages during this time, the more you’ll receive in Oklahoma unemployment benefits. Those who qualify can receive up to 1/23rd of the amount of wages they received during their highest-earning quarter of that base period each week they’re eligible for unemployment.
Calculating the amount of unemployment you may be entitled to can be confusing. We suggest using the Oklahoma unemployment calculator to help you estimate your benefits. To use it, simply input your wages for each quarter during your base period. The calculator automatically updates with an estimate of your weekly benefits.
How long can I receive benefits?
Oklahoma allows unemployed individuals to receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks during a benefit year. These weeks do not need to be consecutive, however. For instance, you may receive four weeks of unemployment benefits, find a job, get laid off two months later, and receive 22 more weeks of benefits as you search for a new job. When a new benefit year starts, you may be eligible to receive another 26 weeks of unemployment benefits so long as you meet the requirements for maintaining your benefits.
To continue receiving unemployment benefits for the full 26 weeks as you work to find employment, you must meet Oklahoma work search requirements. With this requirement, individuals can only receive benefits for a week that they are available and actively searching for employment. Oklahoma requires proof that claimants actively apply for jobs during any week for which they claim benefits, and the same employer cannot be used as a work search contact within four weeks of the previous contact.
What is a base period?
A base period for Oklahoma unemployment refers to the amount of time the state of Oklahoma considers when calculating your wages and how much you’re eligible to collect each week on unemployment. In Oklahoma, the base period is 12 months in total and includes the first four of the previous five quarters before you filed your claim.
When calculating your unemployment benefits, Oklahoma considers your eligible wages made during those four quarters of your base period. Your weekly benefit will equal 1/23rd of your earnings in the highest-earning quarter during your base period. So, if you made $10,000 in your highest quarter during your base period, your weekly benefit would likely be about $434, assuming that all wages you earned during that period are eligible wages.
What is a benefit year?
Unemployment beneficiaries are eligible for up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits for a benefit year, in most cases. A benefit year is a 12-month or 52-week period in which your unemployment case remains active, and you will only be eligible for those 26 weeks of payments. Your benefit year begins on the day you were found to be eligible for unemployment benefits in Oklahoma.
What is the Oklahoma unemployment waiting period?
Oklahoma requires eligible unemployment beneficiaries to wait for one week after filing and becoming eligible for benefits before they can begin receiving payments. This waiting period is required by Oklahoma law. Individuals must still file their weekly unemployment claim and meet all eligibility requirements for the waiting week to be considered effective.
How do I stop benefits if I find a job?
Oklahoma unemployment beneficiaries are typically only able to receive unemployment benefits if they are not currently working. Therefore, if you do find a job while receiving unemployment benefits, you’ll need to stop filing weekly claims for benefits. On any week you don’t file a claim, Oklahoma will not pay you a weekly benefit.
If you find a job after submitting a weekly claim form for unemployment benefits, you should cancel that weekly claim. Beneficiaries can do so by visiting or calling their local Oklahoma Works office or contacting the state’s unemployment center at (405) 525-1500.
What if I am denied benefits?
If you disagree with the decisions of the Commission you may file an appeal to the determination by following the directions on your determination. All appeals must be filed timely. Usually, parties have 10 calendar days from the mail date of the determination to appeal the determination. Please continue to file your weekly claims during the appeals process to receive benefits if your are determined eligible.
Can anyone apply for unemployment compensation benefits?
Yes. However, to qualify you must be unemployed at the time of filing or working less than full-time and earning wages less than your weekly benefit amount. You must have a minimum of $1500 in covered wages in your base period and your total base period wages must be 1½ times your high quarter wages. If you are not a citizen, you must present evidence to establish you were lawfully admitted to the United States during the period of your employment. Please note that unemployment benefit will not be granted to each applicant as this has many other requirements apart from the ones mentioned above and the most important one is, to have lost the job through no fault of your own.
Are Oklahoma unemployment benefits taxable?
Unemployment Insurance benefits are subject to federal and state income tax. You must report unemployment benefits you receive when you file your income taxes. By January 31st of each year, the Commission will send you a form 1099-G with the amount of benefits you received the prior year. You may elect to have federal and state taxes withheld from your weekly unemployment benefits. If you choose to have the taxes withheld, federal taxes of 10% and state taxes of 3% will be deducted from the gross amount of your payment each week.
How will Pension, Annuity or Retirement Pay affect my unemployment benefit amount?
Retirement/pensions may reduce your weekly benefit amount and in some cases could make you totally ineligible to receive benefits. You must advise a claims representative if you are receiving or have applied for retirement/pension or a disability pension.
The payments will be deducted from your weekly benefit amount if:
- The pension or payment is from a base period employer(s) and
- The employer contributed to or maintained the pension
Deductible monthly pension/retirement payments will be prorated on a weekly basis. Your weekly benefit amount will be reduced dollar-for- dollar of your deductible weekly pension amount. If you receive a lump-sum distribution from a retirement plan, the payment will be deductible in the week in which you receive the payment. You must report any other type of pension payment you receive, including 401K plans. If you fail to report a pension or payment you may be required to repay any Unemployment Insurance benefits that you received.