What is Unemployment Insurance?
Unemployment insurance is a program of social insurance meant to ease the economic burden of unemployment by providing a temporary source of income for individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own.
Unemployment is an insurance paid by your employer in the form of Unemployment Taxes.
Base Period - the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the first day of your benefit year.
Benefit Year - the period of 52 consecutive weeks which begins on the Sunday of the week in which your application is filed. Your claim is good for one year. However, you have a limited amount of benefits to draw in that one-year period of time.
Covered Employment - work performed for employers who are subject to the Oklahoma unemployment compensation law.
Weekly Benefit Amount - the amount you can receive for a week of total unemployment. Your weekly benefit amount is 1/23rd of your highest quarter taxable wages in your base period. It cannot exceed $490.00 (in 2015) or be less than $16.00.
You may apply as soon as you become unemployed. Your application cannot be made retroactive beyond the week in which it is filed.
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.
Will I automatically qualify if I file a claim?
No. You must first establish monetary eligibility. This means that you must have adequate wages in your base period to establish eligibility.
You may have enough covered wages in your base period and still be denied for other reasons. Some of the reasons for disqualification are listed below.
You may be disqualified if you:
- were discharged or fired for misconduct
- voluntarily quit without good cause
- are not able and available for work
- are not a U. S. citizen and not authorized 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
- are self employed
- are involved in a strike
- are not looking for work
- refuse suitable work
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.
Not necessarily. The monetary eligibility of an application means only that you have sufficient qualifying wages. After an application is monetarily allowed, OESC must determine if you meet all of the eligibility requirements. The first payable week of unemployment is your waiting week - no benefits can be paid for that week. You will not be paid benefits for that period of unemployment if you were discharged for misconduct or if you quit your employment without good cause connected to the work.
You can apply by telephone
or by using the Internet. To file over the Internet, just go to unemployment claims to file your claim for benefits. To file by telephone, call 1-800-555-1554 if you live anywhere outside the metropolitan calling area of Oklahoma City. If you live within the metropolitan calling area of Oklahoma City, please call (405)525-1500. Claims may be filed by telephone only between the hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm Monday through Friday (except for State holidays).
Your Social Security Number will be required to process any unemployment claim. Have the name and address and dates of work for the last employer for whom you worked.
If you are a veteran who separated from the armed forces in the past 18 months, we will need a copy of your DD-214 (member 4). If you were a federal civilian employee in the same period of time, we'll need a copy of your SF-8 or SF-50. If you had out-of-state employment in the past 18 months, you will need to provide the name(s) and address(es) of these employer(s).
Individuals who worked in Oklahoma during the base period who now live out of state may file their claims for Unemployment by telephone or the Internet. To file by Internet, simply go to unemployment claims to file your claim for benefits. To file by telephone, you may call 1-800-555-1554 to establish a claim between the hours of 8:00am to 4:00pm (Central Time) Monday through Friday (except for State holidays).
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. The determination will give instructions on when you appeal must be filed.
Yes. We are 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.
Claims are filed on a calendar-week basis, Sunday through Saturday date. Weekly claims must be filed within fourteen days of the week ending date for the week to be considered timely. OESC has a Teleclaim system which allows you to file each week by telephone. You will be provided a booklet on how to use the Teleclaim system. You may also file your weekly claims on the Internet by going to unemployment claims. We recommend that you file on a weekly basis because claims filed after fourteen days will be considered untimely and will not be paid.
Yes. You must report all earnings for the week the work was performed even if you were not paid that week. You must also report the number of hours worked each week.
Under certain conditions, termination or separation pay, vacation pay and pensions are deducted.
How long may I receive benefits?
The law establishes the maximum amount you may draw during your benefit year. This amount depends on the conditional factor of the trust fund.
For claims effective January 1, 2015 and after the maximum benefit amount will be $10,600.00. The maximum weekly benefit amount will be $490.00. Please note, these are the maximum allowable amounts. Your benefit amounts are dependent upon the wages you earned during the base period and because of this may be less than the amounts listed. Base period information is covered in the OES-339 booklet, Re-employment Assistance For the Unemployed.
Please refer any other questions you may have to the Unemployment Service Center nearest you: