More Money for Oklahomans: $400 cash coming to thousands unemployed


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission announced Thursday at the capitol that 120,000 Oklahomans who filed for unemployment will be receiving a one-time $400 payment.

“I hope this announcement is a bright spot in a year that has brought so many challenges to the people OESC serves,” OESC Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt said.

Hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The OESC announced Thursday afternoon at the capitol that 120,000 Oklahomans who filed for unemployment will get a one-time $400 payment that will start arriving in their bank accounts on the morning of Dec. 17. The payment will go to those who received at least $100 in benefits from any claim type and certified that their employment was affected by COVID-19 during the week of Sept. 6 though Sept. 12.

“Oklahoma is taking decisive action to help our citizens who have experienced unemployment this year,” Zumwalt said.

This announcement comes just days after the sudden announcement to end Oklahoma’s extended unemployment program. The OESC said they’ve received special permission from FEMA to distribute what’s left of their lost wage assistance funds. Zumwalt said it is money that can’t be used elsewhere.

“They’re restricted and their guidelines are determined by our federal partners,” Zumwalt said in the Thursday afternoon news conference.

FEMA originally approved Oklahoma for the lost wage assistance program back in mid-July. It was supposed to provide Oklahomans with an additional $300 in supplemental unemployment pay. However, KFOR brought you this story in September when the OESC announced that Oklahomans wouldn’t be getting that money until nearly October. At the time, they blamed the issue on outdated technology.

“I’m very excited about this announcement,” Zumwalt said.

The funds will be distributed starting Dec. 16 through Dec. 21. Meanwhile, Oklahoma’s extended unemployment program will cut off this Saturday for everyone.


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