There are still some businesses without power, which means there are many people who are unable to work. The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports trying to recover those lost wages can be a frustrating and confusing process. The News On 6 has received a string of phone calls and emails on the topic. What has reported so far is accurate, but the system is extremely complicated. And, whether you can get unemployment benefits really depends on your unique set of circumstances.
As an example, a physical therapy clinic is one of many Tulsa businesses still in the dark as of Tuesday night. Many of its workers have not only lost power, but more than a week's worth of pay.
Not every ice storm victim who lost pay will qualify for unemployment benefits. But, state officials say it's a good idea to give them a call. If you dial 1-800-555-1554 or log on to Oklahoma's Unemployment Insurance website. They will walk you through the process step by step.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for who will qualify for benefits; it depends on your particular circumstances. But here are a few rules of thumb.
Under Oklahoma law, there is a one-week waiting period. You have to be out of work for at least a week, before you are even eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
If you've been out of work for a week, like the folks at the physical therapy clinic, you may be eligible for benefits, if you meet all the other requirements.
Even if you aren't eligible for money now, state officials say it might be a good idea to go ahead and file a claim. That way if winter weather strikes again, and you have to miss work, the days lost during this ice storm could count towards your week-long waiting period. Again, there are no guarantees.
The best advice is for you to call the unemployment line at 1-800-555-1554 and they can tailor the information to your situation.