500 people approved for return to work incentive in first four days

Mike Seals - July 1, 2021 11:40 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KOKH) — The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) continues to encourage Oklahomans to get back to work by offering a $1,200 incentive to those who do.

Applications opened Monday at 12:01 a.m. and takes just minutes to complete, according to Shelley Zumwalt, executive director of the OESC.

“We currently have around 200,000 people that are workforce eligible but have not returned to the workforce in our state. It’s is happening across the nation, too,” Zumwalt said. “We were looking at ways that we can incentivize people to get back into the workforce to look for different types of jobs, or to get a re-scaling or, you know, find a new career, if OESC can help out with that.”

Since Monday, Zumwalt said about 10,000 people have applied for the bonus. Only 500 have been approved so far.

Zumwalt said about 7,000 have been denied.

“I don’t want people to get discouraged because we’ve had 10,000 applicants, you know?” Zumwalt said. “We’re filtering out for people that, you know, are not eligible for it. So, we do want people to continue to apply because we have not reached that maximum at all. It’s 20,000 people that are eligible and get paid and we’re not there yet.”

Zumwalt said claimants must meet the following criteria to be eligible:

1. Have had an active unemployment claim filed for at least one week between May 2-15, 2021.

2. Accepted a full time or part time position, working 32 hours or more.

3. Completed at least six full weeks of paid employment with proof of a paycheck stub between May 17-Sept. 4, 2021.

“A big one that we’ve seen with people is they either have not worked the six consecutive weeks and they applied before they work the weeks, or they didn’t have six weeks of 32 hours or more. Those are two of the things that really I think are tripping people up,” Zumwalt said. “But you can apply as many times as you want.”

As for the unemployment claim filed in the first two weeks of May, Zumwalt said it can be any type of unemployment.

“You had to have filed for any type of unemployment. That’s PUA, UI, PEUC. Any of those three different benefit types, the first two weeks of May. And so, that’s going to be May 2 through 15th You need one of those two weeks,” Zumwalt said.

She said the application will immediately notify the claimant as to if they have been approved or denied once they apply.

Zumwalt said payouts for those already approved are expected to begin the week of July 11.

The deadline to apply is Sept. 4.


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