Step-by-step instructions to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Coronavirus

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission has released step-by-step guidance to help Oklahomans who need to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

“PUA applicants must first be denied regular unemployment benefits before applying for PUA,” said Secretary of Digital Information David Ostrowe. “We’ve streamlined the process and created a step-by-step guide to improve the user experience in filing for assistance.”

Officials say they collaborated with other agencies in order to overhaul the antiquated system that had been in use for decades.

“The mainframe at OESC wasn’t created to handle this type of unemployment claim or the number of claims received over the last six weeks,” Ostrowe said. “I appreciate the efforts of our teams working around the clock to morph old technology with state-of-the-art software.

Applicants may view a Q&A video about PUA.

Guide to Filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The full Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) application form is now available. PUA is unemployment insurance for those who do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits, including:

  • Gig workers, independent contractors, other self-employed individuals
  • Workers whose regular unemployment benefits have expired who were laid off, furloughed, or are otherwise out of work due to the pandemic
  • Those denied unemployment insurance benefits or whose benefits have been exhausted

Officials stress that you must first apply and be denied for regular unemployment benefits before applying for PUA.

I have been denied regular unemployment and need to apply for PUA.

  1. Visit https://ui.ok.gov
  2. Create an account. Check your email and click on the link to activate your account.
  3. Sign In and create your profile. You can check the status of your application without re-entering your personal information each time.
  4. Click Connect your SSN. You’ll be prompted to enter your social security number twice.
  5. After successfully connecting your SSN click complete to check your claim status.
  6. Click View Your Unemployment Claim Status.
  7. As your claim is processed, those changes will be reflected in real time.

What to have ready when filing for unemployment or PUA

If you are WORKER/EMPLOYEE/CONTRACT LABORER (not self-employed), you MUST submit documentation verifying that you were working or scheduled to start work at the time of the pandemic by one or more of the methods below:

  • Pay sub or voucher
  • Earnings Statement
  • Written Statement from your employer
  • Notarized statement for a co-worker
  • A letter from the potential employer (The letter must include the name and address of the employer, contact name and number, reason for not starting, and start date, hours and duration of the job).

If you were SELF-EMPLOYED, and became unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you MUST provide documentation substantiating your business at the time of the COVID-19 related business closure by one or more of the methods below:

  • Recent bank records
  • Phone, utility, or insurance bill
  • Sales tax return
  • Business license
  • State or Federal Employer Identification Number
  • Recent newspaper/phone book ad for your business
  • Property titles, deeds, or rental agreement for the place of business
  • A letter or rental agreement showing you were going to open a business on or after the date of the pandemic.

Proof of Wages Documentation

If you were a WORKER/EMPLOYEE/CONTRACT LABORER, submit one or more of the methods listed below:

  • A pay stub or earnings statement showing your total earnings for 2019
  • IRS from W-2 from 2019 tax year
  • IRS Form 1099 from the 2019 tax year.

If you were SELF-EMPLOYED in a previously established business at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and filed a tax return on that business for calendar year 2019, you must provide:

  • a copy of your 2019 federal income tax forms.
  • If you are the SOLE PROPRIETOR, you must submit a Schedule C, Profit and Loss Statement
  • If you are in a PARTNERSHIP, you must submit Schedule K-1, Partners Share of Income, Credits, and Deductions.
  • If you have a CORPORATION, you must submit form 1120, US Corporation Tax Return
  • If you DID NOT FILE a tax return for the year 2019, you MUST give OESC a statement to that fact.

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