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Oklahoma Unemployment Job Search Requirements

Oklahoma unemployment affords workers who have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own the ability to collect weekly payments until they can start working again with their previous or another employer. The amount you collect each week depends on how much money you’ve earned during your base period. Use the Oklahoma unemployment calculator to determine your potential unemployment benefit for each week of eligibility.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Act says that an unemployed individual is eligible to receive benefits for the week where that individual is able, available and actively seeking suitable employment at a pay rate generally available in their area of the state in keeping with his/her work experience, education or training.

Specific work search instructions will be handed out when you file your unemployment claim. You are required to keep a record of the contacts on a form. You must be involved in a minimum of two activities per week (including work search contacts) in attempting to secure employment.

Understanding Oklahoma Unemployment Work Search Requirements

According to Oklahoma unemployment office guidelines, eligible workers must meet several requirements to maintain their eligibility as unemployed individuals. One important requirement that many people ask about is the work search requirement, which asks unemployed individuals to prove that they’ve actively searched for employment while receiving unemployment benefits.

Before proceeding, please note that you are required to register for employment services within seven days of filing your unemployment claim.

Oklahoma’s Requirements for Unemployment Job Searches

Once you apply for Oklahoma unemployment, you have seven days to register an account with OKJobMatch.com, which is the state’s helpful resource website for job searchers. You can use the website to search for jobs and contact potential employers, or you can conduct work searches on your own. Either way, a claimant must remain registered with the website.

Each week that you claim a weekly benefit from Oklahoma unemployment insurance, you must complete two employment contacts for suitable work. The work search contacts should be from different employers and be for jobs that you’re reasonably able to do. In other words, you should have skills or experience related to the jobs for which you apply. Additionally, the people you contact for employment should have authority over the hiring process.

To receive weekly UI benefits in Oklahoma City and across the state, searchers also need proof of each contact they’ve made. The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission provides each registered claimant a log they can use to track the places they’ve applied as well as each contact’s name and contact information. If you haven’t received a log, call the Oklahoma unemployment phone number for assistance. Alternatively, you can track your work search efforts on OKJobMatch.com.

A worker who became unemployed from a job in Oklahoma but lives in a different state, like North Carolina or New York, should still register for OKJobMatch.com. However, they’ll complete their work search activity within their residential state. If you are a member of a trade or labor union or if you are on a temporary layoff with a definite return to work date within eight weeks of your last day of work, you may also be exempt from registering for employment with that state. You will be required to submit a copy of your union card or return to work letter from your employer when submitting your identification.

Work Search Requirements

  • Work search contacts must be made within the week for which benefits are being claimed.
  • You must contact a minimum of two different employers each week to meet the minimum work search requirement.
  • In-person and telephone contacts should be made with an individual in the company who has hiring authority.
  • Contacts should be for work you are willing and qualified to do, pay that you are willing to accept, and in the area that you are willing to work.
  • Contacts cannot be repeated with the same employer until four weeks have passed. The same contact should not be listed on consecutive weeks except for agencies that offer multiple placement services. All work search contacts are subject to verification.
  • Failure to make the required number of work searches each week could result in a denial in benefits and possible overpayment.
  • Your claim may be selected for an audit, and it is your responsibility to retain your booklet with the information for two years.
  • Union members that have a hiring hall must contact the hiring hall each week. If you do not have a hiring hall, you must make the required number of work searches each week.

Why is there a work search requirement in Oklahoma?

All states have a work search requirement for unemployment recipients who submit a weekly claim. However, these search requirements vary between states.

In Oklahoma, two searches per week are required, which is similar to many other states’ requirements. Federal law also requires unemployment recipients to complete relevant job searches and be actively open to work. 

Oklahoma’s workforce development and unemployment compensation agencies put this requirement in place to ensure that an unemployed worker is serious about finding new employment. Unemployment benefits are temporary, so it’s important for unemployed workers to pursue job searches to begin earning money on their own again.

Therefore, Oklahoma requires proof of job searches for each week a claimant files an Oklahoma unemployment weekly claim. If you do not file a weekly claim for a week, no searches will be required for that week only. However, you also will not receive compensation for that week.

How to Search for a Job While on Oklahoma Unemployment

If you’ve applied for unemployment insurance benefits in Oklahoma, you must first register for OKJobMatch.com, the state’s online job portal that matches employers with job seekers and vice versa. This resource can make it easy for unemployed workers to conduct job searches and contact employers to meet their job search requirements.

Another resource for finding work is to find a Workforce Oklahoma center, also known as Oklahoma Works. Each Oklahoma Works center provides employment services and resources, such as training, internships, and job search assistance, to help unemployed workers find new employment. Several offices are available throughout the state. Search for your nearest unemployment office location.

Some of the services a workforce Oklahoma center can provide to job seekers each week include workshops, job referrals, skill assessments, resume software and creation, basic skills training, and news about the labor market. You can also use its tools, like internet access, typing tutorials, and computers, to access jobs.

Oklahoma Works offices can also help unemployed workers in specific situations keep their Oklahoma unemployment benefits by conducting appropriate job searches. For instance, these offices can provide workforce services specifically for veterans who are transitioning into civilian jobs. Resources are also available to help disabled veterans find appropriate work.

Unemployed workers may choose to look for work on their own without the help of Oklahoma’s unemployment assistance resources. If you choose this route, be sure to look for relevant employment that fits your skills and experience. Also, document all contact you make with hiring managers, as you’ll need to furnish proof to the state to meet your weekly Oklahoma unemployment work search requirements.

Documenting Your Work Search Efforts to Maintain Your Unemployment

After sending an initial claim for unemployment benefits, every applicant must document their work search efforts for each week of continued claims. Only a few specific groups of people may not have to complete Oklahoma unemployment work search requirements, such as those temporarily laid off or individuals in an approved training program.

An eligible work search effort can be accomplished in a few ways. Many workers choose to send in a resume or apply for a relevant job opportunity. However, Oklahoma also counts interviews, using a school’s placement service, or participating in a reemployment program as applicable job search efforts.

Keep track of your job search efforts in your OKJobMatch.com account or by using a paper log from an Oklahoma Works center. Work search efforts should include the date, information about the job you’ve applied for, the person you contacted, and the results of your contact. Add your suitable work searches to your OkJobMatch.com database by logging into the site and visiting the Job Search Activity section. Keep a log of your work search activity for up to two years, as the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission can audit work searches within that period.

Oklahoma Unemployment Job Training

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a piece of legislation signed into law in 2014 that is meant to help job seekers access the skills training, vocational training, and support services needed to secure the next job placement. Through the Department of Labor, WIOA provides funding to different organizations like the Oklahoma Works Center to give each participant the training program they need to succeed in their targeted industry.

Oklahomans collecting unemployment benefits, those receiving assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and those with a disability are just a few of the demographics that can benefit from Oklahoma unemployment job training or related programs.

Oklahoma Works American Job Centers

These brick and mortar locations are places where jobless individuals can get help putting together a resume, practicing for job interviews, learning about potential new career paths, and finding federal and state resources that can help them reach career goals. Learn more about Oklahoma Works office locations near you if you think you would benefit from one-on-one, personalized assistance.

Oklahoma Works Career Services

Career Services, part of the American Job Center, can help you find a job, locate a job fair near you, or get education and training to upskill yourself. There are 28 different career services centers around Oklahoma. If you are collecting Oklahoma unemployment, these centers can be a great resource for your ongoing job search.

OK Career Readiness

OK Career Tech offers programs and services on 60 campuses, along with hundreds of public schools. Notably, the OK Career Tech programs also assist individuals in correctional institutions with job training and vocational rehabilitation programs so they can reenter the workforce and rebuild their life.

Become an Oklahoma Apprentice

Apprenticeship involves becoming a paid employee while your employer also provides job training to learn a new trade or skill. Oklahoma residents can explore over 1,300 apprenticeship opportunities through Oklahoma Works.

Supportive Services

Supportive Services provide WIOA program participants with some of the peripheral concerns related to career development, such as transportation, childcare, legal aid services, healthcare referrals, assistance with attire, and even needs-based payments.

Center For Employment Opportunities

The CEO, as it’s called shorthand, has opened its doors to jobless Oklahomans since 2013. Program participants can find immediate access to transitional employment and daily pay, as well as comprehensive employment services. CEO is located in the heart of Oklahoma City and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 4:30.

OK Degree Completion Program

Reach Higher is Oklahoma’s Degree Completion Program. All the programs are geared toward helping working adults obtain affordable degrees while balancing their family life, work, and financial obligations. There are micro-credential programs that provide certifications in field-specific that can make a resume more appealing to potential employers.

Oklahoma Higher Ed

The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education includes 25 colleges and universities throughout the state. The State Regents also manage scholarships and special programs for helping Oklahoma residents with financial aid. This can make obtaining a degree more affordable for certain residents, such as jobless individuals in search of a new career path.

Remerge Oklahoma

Remerge Oklahoma specifically helps high-risk, high-needs mothers who are facing non-violent felony charges not only get back into the workforce, but reintegrated with life. This non-profit success story has helped over 166 women and their children while saving the state an estimated $39 million.

Work-Based Learning

The premise of a registered apprenticeship is to learn while you earn. On-the-job training is combined with industry specific instruction, provided by the employer. WIOA funds can be used to encourage businesses to make these opportunities available for out of work adults, veterans, and at-risk youth.

Training Assistance For Disabled Oklahomans

Individuals with significant physical, mental, emotional, or learning disabilities can qualify for specialized vocational rehabilitation assistance from the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, as can individuals with significant blindness or visual impairment (SBVI).

Dislocated Worker Program

Oklahomans who have been laid off because of an event like a natural disaster, or because they are military spouses, may qualify for employment and job training services funded by National Dislocated Worker Grants (DWGs).

WIOA Youth Programs

Young Oklahomans who are out of school and identified as at-risk youth (for economic and other reasons) may face significant barriers to employment. WIOA Youth Programs deliver a comprehensive array of tutoring, mentoring, training, and career path counseling to prepare for employment or post-secondary education.

True Dads

This Oklahoma City nonprofit offers 8 different workshops to help men go from a job to a career, and also how to get more involved as a parent and a spouse. Graduates of the workshops learn about topics like self-sufficiency, teamwork, healthy relationships, and other life skills that are not just for the workplace.

Veteran Services

All DOL funded job training programs provide priority assistance to veterans and their eligible spouses. These programs can help veterans enter or reenter the workforce as they transition to civilian life or if they have lost their employment since then.

Priority Populations

Certain populations such as low income individuals and recipients of public assistance have priority access to WIOA programs. This can include individuals collecting SNAP benefits (food stamps) TANF (cash assistance) or SSI (Supplemental Security Income).

Federal Student Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to help students apply for financial aid for college or graduate school. Deadlines for filing the form are different in every state. Sometimes getting a degree or second degree can be the best path to finding economic security in a new job path.

What happens to my Oklahoma unemployment benefits if I find a job?

If you are collecting unemployment and find a new job, you no longer qualify for Oklahoma unemployment. To stop your benefits, all you need to do is stop filing your weekly certification. Additional payments will not be issued. If you mistakenly receive benefits while employed, be sure to return any overpayments to avoid being suspected of Oklahoma unemployment fraud. Note that you cannot collect unemployment if you have started a new job and are waiting for your first paycheck.

  1. I have an unresolved issue and will be informed when a decision is made? How long might this take? Is there anything I can do to help resolve it more quickly?

    • Leslie,

      You can chase your contact/Unemployment Office at regular intervals for an update on your claim by calling them.

  2. I have tried calling today (Sunday) on the 800# to report that I applied for 2 jobs this week, but I am getting no options on where to report this at the 800#. I’ve tried several times today.

    • You will be required to carry out the required quantum of job searches every week and report them.

      Call the Claims Center on the phone numbers provided for specific details.

  3. When weekly filing a weekly claim, am I required to make 2 Work Searches or 2 Work Search Contacts? I see both, but they don’t seem to be interchangeable.

    • Please call the Unemployment Office on the phone numbers provided for precise information in this regard.

    • Please call the claims center on the phone numbers provided for assistance.

      If you’re filing online, please look for options to do so.

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