OESC Offers Clarity On Unemployment Relief In New Stimulus Bill

Tuesday, December 22nd 2020, 6:12 pm

The second stimulus package could land on President Trump’s desk as early as Tuesday and many Oklahomans said they want to know what money they can count on for the holidays.

Gary Horton has been unemployed since March and still has questions.

"There's a lot of confusion. It's hard to keep your head above water, especially as a man who provides for his family as long as I have and work hard, it's a hard pill to swallow," said Horton. 

Horton has been receiving state extended benefits, and just got extended benefit money Sunday despite a December 12th cutoff. He's heard rumors that extra cash denies him from getting the stimulus check.

The OESC said that's not true and he can still get the check.

"There's no Christmas present this year, we will have ramen noodles for Christmas," said Cassondra Erlandson. She said she also wants to know when the stimulus money will come.

"I would just want more transparency more honesty, just be more forthcoming," Erlandson said. 

The OESC said if the stimulus package become law, they are at the mercy of the Department of Labor as to when Oklahomans would get that money.

“We are encouraged to see Congress pass an additional federal unemployment relief package, as we know there are many Oklahomans who are still in need of assistance. Once the President signs the bill and we receive final details from the U.S. DOL, we will move as quickly as possible to distribute the funds," OESC Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt said. "At this point we can advise claimants that they do not need to file a new UI or PUA claim if they have an existing one, even if their benefits exhausted earlier this year. We know Oklahomans are anxious to find out what is next as this package becomes available and will continue to share updates as we learn more.” 

Congresswoman Kendra Horn said the new bill will be a big relief.

"Some of the benefits set to expire on December 26th will now be able to continue, as well as an additional $300 dollars a week for the people who lost their jobs," Horn told News on 6. 

The OESC also wants to reassure Oklahomans, they have updated parts of their system and are hopeful there will be no future delays in paying Oklahomans. 

“We have updated parts of our system already, but it takes time to implement new extensions and programs. We will work diligently to implement these two new extensions, changes to a previously expired benefit and the new program, MEUC, to get claimants paid as quickly as possible. It’s important to note we can’t begin distributing funds until we receive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor. We aren’t sure yet when this information will come, but are hopeful it will be in the very near future," Zumwalt said.