Things You Should Know About Unemployment Benefits in Oklahoma
In today’s economy, unemployment is a harsh situation that nobody wants to face. In 2009, unemployment rate peaked to 10% but then leveled off in the next few years. Even today, companies in trouble are slashing their payrolls or reducing the workforce to stay afloat. Various government programs like the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program ensure that you have some support during those tough times. Unemployment Insurance is the benefit that the government offers to eligible individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own. These monetary benefits help keep you afloat while you search for a new job and start making a living. But, you must be eligible according to your state’s law requirements to claim these benefits. The basic rules for unemployment are similar across the nation. However, the benefit amounts, eligibility rules, and other details vary from state to state.
According to the Oklahoma unemployment rules, to be eligible to claim the unemployment benefits you must fulfill the following criteria:
You must be unemployed through no fault of your own. Even if you’ve been fired or coerced to quit, you should be free of fault in order to get the benefits. And if you’ve been laid off due to workforce reduction or some other reason, you can still qualify for the benefit. However, if you’ve quit voluntarily, unless it’s for a very good justifiable cause, you will be disqualified.
You must also meet your state’s law requirements for the duration you worked and the wages you earned. Oklahoma law states that you must have worked in the preceding year and earned wages equal to at least 10 times your current year’s weekly benefit in order to receive benefits.
You must be able and available to work and actively seeking employment. Even if you quit due to justifiable personal reason such as an illness or taking care of family, you may still get benefit provided you are ready and able to join work when you apply for claim.
How to Claim
So, now that you know who can claim the benefits and who is eligible for it, let’s see how you can file a claim under the Oklahoma state law. All unemployment claims in Oklahoma are administered by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC). You can file your claim with OESC either online or by phone. Once the OESC receives your application, it will send you a Monetary Determination detailing your past earnings. This document will also state your potential weekly and total benefit amounts. The OESC determines eligibility on a case-by-case basis and will thus decide if your claim is eligible. If your claim is approved, you will need to call the Oklahoma unemployment each week to keep the claim active.
In Oklahoma, if you are eligible for the unemployment benefit the weekly benefit rate will be 1/23 of your wages in the highest paid quarter of the base period. Moreover, you may receive benefits for a maximum of 26 weeks. And in times of high unemployment, additional weeks of benefits may be granted.
In Case of Denial
And what happens if your claim is denied? No need to worry. If your claim has been denied, you can appeal the decision to the OESC Board Review either by mail or through their website. The OESC will contact you ex-employer, schedule a hearing, and review evidences from both sides before taking a decision. You should claim your weekly benefits while you are appealing the decision, and for as long as you are unemployed.
If you are still not sure on how to proceed in order to file your claim or go for an appeal, you should contact an experienced lawyer to get direction and guidance.