What Oklahomans On Unemployment Could Expect If COVID-19 Relief Package Passes

Monday, December 21st 2020, 6:30 pm

Right before the holidays, some are deciding between paying the electric bill or buying Christmas gifts for their children. But there could be a glimmer of hope in the coming weeks from the federal government.

Tammy Gillette currently receives benefits from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

She said her benefits right now are just not cutting it.

"I am only getting $196 a week," Gillette, who lost her job at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before Congress, the latest plan would provide an additional $300 of weekly aid from the federal government from the end of this month to mid-March.

Gillette said having an extra $300 would help her pay her rent and car payments and help many others.

"Relief. For families and people in Oklahoma," said Gillette. 

Washington's action comes a little over a week after OESC said it would be ending part of the state extended benefits program.

"OESC has been notified by the department of labor that the state extended benefits program no longer meets the requirements to stay in effect," said OESC Executive Director Shelly Zumwalt.

In a statement to News 9 Zumwalt said, "As we await action from the federal government, we're hopeful that relief will come for Oklahomans."

As many will not receive extra assistance before the holidays, this pulls on Gillette's heartstrings.

"I see they do not have Christmas gifts this week," said Gillette.

OESC said they will hear more from the U.S. Department of Labor once the bill is signed into law.