The overall economy in Oklahoma, like the rest of the country, is showing little signs of being impacted by the ongoing high inflation and interest rate increase. It was reported that the July OK unemployment rate remained at 2.7% , little changed from the previous months.
While not bad news for the state, this also means that Oklahomans who happen to fall into the unemployment bracket at the moment are facing significant challenges in managing the mounting living costs. If you find yourself grappling with this uncertain future, it's important to remember that you're not alone on this job-seeking journey and there's absolutely no need to be ashamed. We understand that finding new jobs can be frustrating as it requires not only experience and skills, but also a bit of luck. So calling out for help is definitely not a sign of weakness, but a proactive and courageous step towards opening a new chapter in your life.
In this guide, we will share with you all you need to know about the assistance and resources you can get in Oklahoma while regaining your footing in the job market!
Getting Free Assistance
The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) is responsible for providing free work-related services and resources for job seekers. It has many offices across the state to provide services in local communities.
At OESC, you may find various programs and resources to help you in your quest for new employment, such as unemployment insurance, career guidance and referral, training programs and labor market information.
What is Unemployment Insurance?
Unemployment insurance is a temporary supplemental income for individuals who are out of work due to no fault of their own when suitable work is not available.
The benefit amount is based on wages earned from covered employers during the base period, which is the first four of the previous five completed calendar quarters. Typically, individuals are able to receive unemployment benefits for a maximum of 16 weeks as established by state law.
Other than financial support, claimants who may not be able to return to their previous occupation or industry are also qualified for the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program. RESEA provides reemployment assistance to eligible individuals, such as customized resume assistance, reemployment/interview workshops, and job referrals based on your experience and qualifications.
Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Insurance?
Unemployment insurance is an insurance paid by Oklahoma employers, thus it is not available for self-employed, contract, or gig workers. To receive the benefits, individuals must meet the following criteria:
- You are unemployed through no fault of your own
- You are able and available to seek and accept work
- You earned a minimum of $1,500 from a covered employer during your base period.
- You meet the "1 and 1/2 rule". More information on this rule can be found in section § 2-207 of the OES Act (Oklahoma Statutes Title 40)
For individuals who quit or were fired from their job, a hold will be placed on their claim until a determination of eligibility can be made by OESC.
What Information is Needed for Filing A Claim?
You'll need the following information and documents to complete the application:
- Social Security Number
- Name, mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address
- Alien registration number and expiration date, if a non-citizen
- Oklahoma Driver's License or state-issued ID card number
- Name and address of the company on your paycheck stub or W-2 form
- Employment start and end date
- Wages earned and how you were paid (hourly, weekly, monthly)
- Form SF8 or SF 50 if employed by the Federal government in the last 18 months
- DD Form 214 for military service in the previous 18 months
Once you have all information and documents prepared, you can go to OESC's website to verify your identity and submit your initial claim.
What the Process Looks Like?
Once you've filed the application, OESC must first determine your monetary eligibility for unemployment benefits. It may need to request wages from other states, complete investigations on missing wages, or adjust your claim’s base period.
Then, OESC will review your claim to determine if you are allowed benefits under the Oklahoma Employment Security Act. This eligibility determination will be issued within 21 days of a claim becoming monetarily eligible. Once a determination is met, you will receive a letter detailing the decision and further information by mail.
If you disagree with the decision, you have 10 calendar days from the mailing date of the determination to appeal in person, by mail, fax, telephone or email. You should include your name, social security number, phone number, date of determination, section of law you are appealing and a detailed explanation of why you disagree with the decision in the appeal.
Finally, all individuals are required to serve a one week waiting period per Oklahoma law (§40-2-206) and no payment will be issued during the period. This, however, will not subtract from your total benefit amount.
What Other Requirements Do I Have to Meet?
You will need to create an OKJobMatch account within seven days of your initial file, and complete or upload your resume.
To be actively seeking work, claimants are required to perform a minimum of two work search efforts for each week without work through OKJobMatch or other websites such as Indeed.com or LinkedIn.com. Work searches should be for work the claimant is willing and qualified to do, pay that they are willing to accept and in the area that they are willing to work. You are also required to keep a record of all work searches using template log.
Claimants also need to submit weekly certifications for each week of being jobless. Weekly certifications must be submitted within 14 days of the week ending date.
Additional Benefits - FREE Cell Phone and FREE Unlimited Data
We understand how challenging it is to live without a stable income and to have to find new jobs at the same time. And that is why we are bringing you more tips on how to save on your regular expenses.If you qualify for unemployment insurance, you will probably be eligible for the benefits under the two Federal Government-funded programs to provide financial support for low-income households to access mobile and network services.
How Do I Claim My FREE Cell Phone?
Through EASY Wireless, you can apply for the Lifeline Assistance Program and Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and enjoy the following benefits.
EASY Wireless Free Unlimited Plan
- FREE UNLIMITED Data
- FREE Unlimited Talk
- FREE Unlimited Text
- Keep Your Phone & Number
- FREE SIM Card & Activation
To check your eligibility, simply enter your zip code and email in the box below and click "Enroll Now"!
Start Saving Today!
If you prefer to sign up in person, we have 30 retail stores in Oklahoma so you can drop by on your way to shopping or meeting friends. Our customer service agent will be at your service and help you manage the complex National Verifier process to confirm your eligibility.
We just need one of the following government-issued IDs as your identity proof:
- U.S. Driver License
- Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
- Certificate of Naturalization
- U.S. Passport
- U.S. Government, State or Tribal issued-ID
- U.S. Military ID cards
- Permanent Resident Cards
- Permanent Resident Alien Cards
Visit us and grab your free smartphone today!