OESC makes some headway with unemployment insurance & assistance claims, but director says more work to be done

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) released unemployment insurance and pandemic unemployment assistance claim statistics on Thursday.

Those statistics are as follows:

Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claims
Total UI claims processed March 1 – June 21: 586,460
Total UI claims approved: 234,437
Total UI claims denied: 350,041
Total UI claims in review: 1,982

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Claims
Total PUA claims processed March 1 – June 21: 46,518
Total PUA claims approved: 12,221
Total PUA claims denied: 7,145
Total PUA claims in review: 990

Shelley Zumwalt, OESC Interim Executive Director, said in the OESC news release that progress has been made in going through claims, but much more progress is needed.

“Despite these promising numbers, I see the line in front of our Will Rogers Building every day. We are working tirelessly to create solutions to help Oklahomans get the help they need,” Zumwalt said. “We are continuing to evolve our processes and protocols to get Oklahomans served as efficiently and effectively as possible. This is an unprecedented time and we are processing more claims than ever before.”

OESC has been busy processing PUA claims, Zumwalt said.

“In addition, while in this increased level of activity during the pandemic, OESC has continually processed more PUA claims in one week than an entire pre-pandemic month,” she said. “According to our most recent numbers, less than 3,000 claims are pending or in review – all other filed claims have been either approved or denied. I’m also acknowledging there are other PUA claims that are not completed and those people could be counting themselves in the ‘backlog’.”

The news release provided the following unemployment numbers for the week ending on June 20:

• The advance number of initial claims, unadjusted, totaled 49,208, a decrease of 35,571 from the previous week’s revised level of 84,779.
• The less volatile initial claims 4-week moving average was 67,972, an increase of 1,374 from the previous week’s revised average of 66,599.
• The advance unadjusted number for continued claims totaled 178,974, an increase of 5,613 from the previous week’s revised level of 173,361.
• The 4-week moving average was 170,360, an increase of 9,945 from the previous week’s revised average of 160,415, for continued claims.

“Individuals seeking unemployment benefits under the CARES Act should go to https://ui.ok.gov and create an account with the Get Started button to connect their social security number and pull all unemployment information into one location,” the news release states. “Unemployment claimants should be aware that not returning to work when recalled or when work is available could potentially lead to disqualification from receiving unemployment benefits.”

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