Oklahoma Unemployment Eligibility
Unemployment Insurance (UI) provides temporary financial assistance to qualified individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and who continue to meet eligibility requirements of State law.
This program is not a right to all who have lost their job.
You have to meet certain requirements to be eligible for benefits. There are separate requirements to receive benefit payment each week, called weekly certification requirement. The basic requirement is, you must be unemployed at the time of filing or working less than full-time and earning wages less than your weekly benefit amount.
There are two types of eligibility requirements –
- Non-Monetary Eligibility Requirements
- Monetary Eligibility Requirements
Non-Monetary Eligibility Requirements –
These requirements usually depend on your ability to work and how you lost your job.
- Unemployed for no fault of your own
- Able to and available for work
- Actively seeking suitable work
- Register with Employment Service. You must register as directed with Employment services to be eligible to collect UI benefits.
The reason for you dismissal is what usually stands between you and unemployment benefits. The state will make a decision about your eligibility after getting information about your separation from both you and your employer. A written decision will be issued based on the information gathered.
Monetary Eligibility Requirements –
You may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits in the state of Oklahoma if you can meet all of the following requirements. This means, the monetary eligibility of an application means only that you have sufficient qualifying wages. After an application is monetarily allowed, Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) must determine if you meet all of the eligibility requirements.
- You must have a minimum of $1500 in covered wages in your base period
- Total base period wages must be 1½ times your high quarter wages
Here are some of the potential reasons for disqualification even if you have sufficient covered wages in the base period –
- Discharged or fired for misconduct
- Voluntarily quit without good cause
- Unable and Unavailable for work
- Not a U. S. citizen and unauthorized to work
- Have limited the wages, hours, days, or areas of a job you would accept
- Do not report for or satisfactorily participate in reemployment services
- Self employed
- Involved in a strike
- Not looking for work
- Refuse suitable work
Please note that the law imposes a special “between-terms” disqualification whereby certain college and school employees cannot be paid benefits for any week of unemployment which begins during the period between two successive academic years or terms. Also, professional athletes cannot be paid benefits for weeks of unemployment between two successive sports seasons.
The reason for the separation from your employment could make you ineligible to receive benefits even if you have enough wages in your base period to establish a benefit account. The state chooses to pay eligibility benefits to individuals who have lost job through no fault of their own but each case of unemployment is different and you may want to apply for unemployment to know if you qualify.
Can I avail Unemployment benefits if I quit my job?
In Oklahoma, applicants who quit their job are usually not eligible unless the quit falls into one of the following good cause categories:
- Unsafe working conditions
- A job which is damaging to your health (with medical proof)
- The job must either cause your illness or make your medical condition worse
- A change in working conditions that is harmful to you. For example, you may be asked to work longer hours, take a reduction in pay, or have to do very different job duties.
- Your employer broke the original contract. For example, your employer did not give you a pay increase that was promised in your contract
Go ahead and apply for benefits to know if you qualify as the base line is, you should have lost your job through no fault of your own and unless you can prove that, you are good to go.
Will I receive unemployment benefits if I were fired?
If you were discharged for employment misconduct, you are ineligible to receive unemployment benefit payments. Employment misconduct means any intentional or negligent conduct that –
- Displays clearly a serious violation of the standards of behavior the employer has the right to reasonably expect of the employee
- Displays clearly a substantial lack of concern for the employment.
Will my employer be notified?
OSEC is required by law to notify your last employer of 15 days or more that you have applied for benefits, and to obtain from them the information needed to process your application. Hence it is important to provide accurate information. If there is a difference in the information cited then you maybe denied benefits. Also note that your employer has the same rights as you if your are found eligible when it comes to appeal. If your employer appeals the decision, the appeal does not stop your benefits. However, if the employer wins the appeal, you will be considered as overpaid for any benefits you received. It is important that you participate in the hearing on the employer’s appeal so you may present your side of the case.
Can I work while receiving benefits?
Yes, you can go ahead and work part-time while receiving benefits but it is very important to declare all your earnings.
Any employment like full-time, part-time, temporary assignments, short term contracts, volunteer work or cash-in hand jobs such as mowing lawns & babysitting must be reported when you are filing for unemployment benefits. You may be entitled to a reduced amount of Unemployment Insurance benefits while you are working. You shall be considered “unemployed” any week that you perform no services and are paid no wages or any week that you work less than full-time and your earnings are less than your weekly benefit amount plus one-hundred dollars ($100.00).
Full-time work is defined as 32 or more hours of work per week. Remember, most “weeks” begin at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday and end at midnight on Saturday.
You must report the amount of money you earned before any deductions were made for each week, whether or not you were paid during the week. Earnings must be reported during the week you earn them, not when you actually receive the payment. Work is anything you do for wages, including self-employment, during the seven days of the week you are claiming Unemployment Insurance benefits.
Will I be eligible to receive benefits if laid off?
The case of lay-off occurs when the company is unable to allot sufficient work to its employees as a matter of many reasons and hence is forced to furlough its workers temporarily or permanently. This is clearly not the mistake of the individual and hence he / she will be eligible for unemployment benefits, provided the monetary eligibility requirements are met. Also, you can avail unemployment benefits if your work hours were reduced and it is less than 32 hours a week.