OESC Says It Is ‘Reviewing’ Thousands Not Eligible For Back-To-Work Incentive


Wednesday, June 30th 2021, 11:04 am
By: Tevis Hillis


OKLAHOMA CITY -

Nearly 7,000 people have applied for the $1,200 back to work incentive but approximately 2,000 Oklahomans qualify for the benefits.

"We are right at 4,000 not meeting the eligibility requirements, and we are reviewing the rest of those," Oklahoma Employment Security Commission director Shelley Zumwalt said.

Here's the issue: The criteria is minimal, but there is a way to fix this.

According to the state, you must have claimed unemployment from May 2 through May 15 and since been working at least 32 hours per week for six straight weeks to be eligible.

Zumwalt said many of the 7,000 filers in May do not meet those requirements as of now but said applicants have until Sept. 4 to meet that 6-week requirement.

The application takes about 10 minutes, and the OESC will immediately let you know whether you're eligible.

Before the pandemic, Oklahoma's unemployment sat at 3.1%. Right now, we're at 4%.

Many businesses have asked for assistance, telling the OESC that they do not have enough workers.

“‘What is going on here? Is this because they are choosing to be stay-at-home parents” Is it because of transportation issues?’ We are looking into this so we can adjust to those issues and see what the barrier is for people,” Zumwalt said.

This incentive was a trade-off to end the federal unemployment benefits.