OESC Says Federal Relief Bill Payments Coming By End Of Next Week

Friday, March 19th 2021, 6:13 am
By: Caleb Califano

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission says unemployed Oklahomans will go another week before they start seeing benefits from the latest COVID-19 relief package. 

OESC Director Shelley Zumwalt says right now they plan to distribute the extended payments by the end of next week, but there is a chance it could be sooner.

This new COVID-19 relief package will extend federal unemployment benefits to Oklahomans through September.

The package specifically extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and the $300 weekly benefit from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

Zumwalt says if someone is seeking assistance, they do not need to file a new claim or do anything different.

"I get a lot of questions about if I need to do anything different or file a new claim," she said. "No, this is an extension of the benefits you already have. So, claimants will just file on Sunday like they normally do."

She says her team's biggest challenge is to get these payments out quickly is outdated technology. The agency is going through a complete technology transformation, something Zumwalt says is vital.

It should be finished after the first quarter of 2022.