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LWA Update: OESC is on track to distribute LWA funding Monday night (Sept. 21). Funds will be available Tuesday, with direct deposit having additional time.

Need help with a claim or job searching? Visit one of our local Oklahoma Works offices for assistance

Unemployment Debit Card issues? All debit cards are handled by our vendor Conduent. Please contact Conduent at (866) 320-8699.

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How to Apply for Unemployment

Before you apply, read through these steps to make sure you can file a complete claim and receive your benefits as soon as possible. If you have a question, scroll down for "Your Questions Answered" or ask the OESC Virtual Agent.

1. Make Sure You Are Qualified

  • You are unemployed through no fault of your own
  • You are able to work
  • You are available to work and registered in OKJobMatch
  • You must have earned a minimum of $1,500 during your base period

2. Have All the Right Information on Hand

Information you enter may not save if you leave the application

  • Social Security Number
  • Name, mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address
  • Alien registration number and expiration date, if a non-citizen
  • Oklahoma Driver's License or state-issued ID card number
  • Name and address of the company on your paycheck stub or W-2 form
  • Employment (start date and end date)
  • Wages earned and how you were paid (hourly, weekly, monthly)
  • Form SF8 or SF 50 if employed by the Federal government in the last 18 months
  • DD Form 214 for military service in the previous 18 months

3. Start Your Application

  • To progress through the application, use the next and back buttons in the application itself. Using the 'Back' button in your browser will lose your progress
  • Completing the application can take up to an hour based on your individual requirements
  • Closing the application window before completion might require you to start over

**NOTE - You must apply for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) before applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)


4. Follow Up After You File

  • Once you file, use your username to register within seven days at OKJobMatch
    • If you don't register, you will delay your benefits.
  • Come back every week to reapply and continue to receive benefits.
  • Once you have been determined to be eligible, your information will be sent to our card vendor, and you will be issued an OKJobMatch card. There may still be requirements to receive payments on your card, such as your weekly filing.
    • Because of the ongoing COVID-19 situation and delays with the mail, it may take 16 - 18 business days before you receive your Unemployment Insurance debit card.
      • If you have received unemployment benefits in the past three years, you may not receive a new card.  Use your existing card.
      • If you know your card number and pin, you can access the Conduent IVR or website.
          • You can use your SSN, DOB, and PIN to request a new card via the Conduent IVR or website.
          • If you do not have your card number and PIN, then you may have to request a new card through the Conduent website or the Way2Go mobile app available on the iOS and Google app stores.
  • As of Oct 1, 2019, if you have never received unemployment benefits and you've been recently eligible or had a recent deposit to your account for benefits, your card might have been already issued.
    • You can set up direct deposit if you have not yet received your card. This will increase your speed of delivery of benefits. Do this at
  • Find anything you need to know about unemployment insurance in one location with our Reemployment Assistance for the Unemployed booklet.

Victims of domestic abuse may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits

If you are the victim of domestic violence or abuse and if it has resulted in your separation from employment, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. Oklahoma law states: “If the claimant separated from employment due to domestic violence or abuse, verified by any reasonable or confidential documentation, which causes the individual to reasonably believe that the individual’s continued employment would jeopardize the safety of the individual or of any member of the individual’s immediate family.”

Those benefits and many other employment-related services are available free of charge from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) at its 27 local workforce centers located throughout the state. For those transitioning between careers, OESC provides training, educational opportunities, skill-building, resume assistance, networking, and job referrals. For information on reemployment services, contact your nearest Oklahoma Works office or call 1-888-980-WORK (9675).

Your Questions Answered
Find answers to most common questions. If you don’t see your question, ask the OESC Virtual Agent.
Lost Wages Assistance (LWA)     New Claims     Payment & CONDUENT     Claim Support     Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)     Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)     Most Popular Answers    

Who is eligible for the LWA program?

To qualify for the LWA program, claimants must be receiving at least $100 in benefits from OESC and be in one of the eligible groups below:

  • The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • The individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work;
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
  • The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • The individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The individual is an independent contractor or gig worker with reportable income who experienced a significant loss of work due to COVID-19.
How much will the LWA program pay out, and for how long?

Claimants who qualify for this benefit will receive a $300 weekly benefit through FEMA. Oklahoma will fulfill the 25 percent state match through funding that is already paid out to claimants in regular unemployment benefits.

FEMA and the Department of Labor have chosen to cap the LWA program at 6 weeks of benefits. The 6-week cap is the same for all states; OESC and the state of Oklahoma have applied for the maximum amount of benefits available. This means the maximum amount of benefits an individual can receive is $1,800.

When will the benefit start and will it be retroactive?

Benefits payments will be for Aug. 1 through Sept. 5, which are the six (6) weeks available for this program. These payments will be retroactively available. 

Why is it $300 instead of $400?

Like the majority of states that have applied for the Lost Wages Assistance program, Oklahoma has opted to fulfill the state match of $100 through existing unemployment benefits.

How will claimants certify that they are out of work due to COVID-19?

Proof that claimants are out of work due to COVID-19 will be in the form of a question on the weekly certification, similar to what currently exists on PUA weekly certifications.

If claimants are already on unemployment, is there anything else they need to do?

There is no additional action or application needed from claimants to access the LWA program benefits.

Are claimants who were out of a job before COVID-19 eligible for this program?

The LWA program is open to any claimants that certify they are out of work due to COVID-19 and meet the remaining program requirements.

Does the eligibility requirement of $100 minimum on benefits received apply to the pre-tax amount or to the post-tax amount?

The $100 minimum benefit requirement for the LWA program is based on the pre-tax benefit amount.

Who can file unemployment?

Unemployment insurance is a temporary income intended for individuals who have experienced a loss of work due to no fault of their own when suitable work is not available. In some cases, workers who quit their jobs may qualify. Unemployment Insurance is an insurance paid by Oklahoma employers, and therefor is not available for self-employed, contract, or gig workers.

Can I file for unemployment if I quit or got fired?

Anyone who is unemployed may file a claim for unemployment.  When filing your initial claim, you will be asked to provide the reason for separation from your last employer of 15 days or longer. 

If you quit or resigned, an issue (hold) will be placed on your claim until a determination of eligibility is made by OESC.  An individual shall be disqualified for benefits for leaving his or her last work voluntarily without good cause (reference Oklahoma Employment Security Act section 2-405 for more information). There are also certain provisions for leaving work due to compelling family circumstances (reference Oklahoma Employment Security Act section 2-210 for more information).  

If you were discharged or fired, an issue (hold) will be placed on your claim until a determination of eligibility is made by OESC.  An individual shall be disqualified for benefits if he/she has been discharged for misconduct connected with his/her work. The applicable law regarding this topic can be found in the Oklahoma Employment Security Act under Section 2-406. 

How do I file for unemployment? What if I don't have internet access?

Please visit our home page for a detailed walkthrough on how to file for unemployment, and what you'll need for the process.

If you don't have access to internet, you will need to visit one of our local Oklahoma Works offices to file an initial claim. You may also visit any facility with public access computers and go online to to begin. For filing weekly claims, or if you need language assistance, you may call 1-800-555-1554 to speak with a representative regarding filing a claim by phone. 

How do I know if my claim went through?

To check the status of your claim, visit or where you can find information regarding the status of your application, recent activity, monetary entitlement, and determinations of eligibility.  

How long does it take to determine if I am eligible?

The U.S. Department of Labor has established the timeliness standard of twenty-one (21) days for a determination of eligibility, whether it is an approval or denial.  Please note that the 21-day timeframe is calculated from the day a claim becomes monetarily eligible.

What is expected of me to collect unemployment benefits?

When you file for unemployment benefits you will be responsible for:

  • Registering for work with OKJobMatch within seven (7) days of initially filing your claims
    • If you live out of state, you must register for work in your resident state. 
  • Filing your weekly claims
  • Attending all required groups and appointments you may be scheduled for
  • Keeping a log of your work search efforts
  • Verifying your identity by visiting a local Oklahoma Works office and providing two (2) forms of ID. 
Is unemployment compensation taxable?

Unemployment Insurance benefits are subject to federal and state income tax. You must report unemployment benefits you receive when you file your income taxes. By January 31 of each year, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission will send you a form 1099-G with the amount of benefits you received the prior year. You may elect to have federal and state taxes withheld from your weekly unemployment benefits. If you choose to have taxes withheld, federal taxes of 10% and state taxes of 3% will be deducted from the gross amount of your payment each week.

What does "Not Monetarily Eligible" mean?

If a claim is ‘not monetarily eligible’, that means there were not sufficient covered wages in your base period. The base period is the period of time (currently all of calendar year 2019) that we look at to determine monetary eligibility.  There are two requirements to be monetarily eligible.  First, you must have earned at least $1500 during the base period.  Second, the highest quarter of taxable wages must be less than 2x’s the total wages in the remaining three quarters of the base period.  The second rule is waived if base period wage have met or exceeded the taxable limit.  The taxable limit for 2019 was $18,100.  For 2020 it is $18,700.

Can I work part-time and still receive benefits?

Yes; however, you must report the amount of money you earned before any deductions were made. Earnings must be reported during the week you earn them, not when you actually receive the payment or paycheck. Work is anything you do for wages, including self-employment, during the seven days of the week you are claiming Unemployment Insurance benefits.

How do I change my address or other information?

To change information such as your address, please visit, or you may call our Service Center or visit a local Oklahoma Works office.

How do I file an appeal?

You can file an appeal in person, by mail, fax, telephone or email. Include your name, social security number, phone number, date of determination, section of law you are appealing and a detailed explanation of why you disagree with the decision. The mailing address, fax number, telephone number and email address will be listed on your determination.

Who is my separating employer?

The separating employer is the most recent employer for whom you have worked 15 days or more. This applies to individuals who are temporarily laid off and to those who have completely separated from employment. 

How do I know how much I’m eligible to receive?

After your initial application for unemployment, OESC will send a Monetary Determination stating your Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA) and Maximum Benefit Amount (MBA). You can also access information about your claim, including monetary entitlements, by visiting For information on how these amounts are calculated, please refer to the Oklahoma Employment Security Act Article 2, sections 104 & 106


Do I need to wait to file until after my severance, accrued vacation pay or bonus payments are made?

You may file a claim upon separation from employment.  However, when filing your initial claim you must report the details of the severance package, and any other payments made to you by your employer after separation.  A determination will be made as to whether or not the severance payment is deductible from your unemployment benefits.  

Why can't I transfer funds from my debit card to my bank account?

Due to a spike in fraudulent activity, the one-time transfer rule which allows customers to transfer money from the debit card to a bank account will be temporarily suspended. This will not affect direct deposit transfers or debit card registration. In addition, individuals will still be able to complete a bank teller withdrawal free of charge. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

I have questions about my unemployment [debit] card or GoProgram account.

Please call our vendor Conduent at 866-320-8699 or visit for assistance on any of the below issues.

  • I have my card but I need to reset my pin.
  • I have an account with, but no longer have a card.
    • Use the self-service option online to verify your address, and then request a new card.
    • If you last received benefits more than 3 years ago a new card will be automatically issued.
  • I have a forwarded address with the USPS or a PO Box as my address.  Debit cards will not be forwarded automatically by USPS or delivered to a P.O. Box.  Addresses need to be updated through OESC, not Conduent and then a new card requested.
    • Note: There are many apartment buildings that are not receiving expedited packages to individuals.
  • I’ve received confirmation from OESC that I am eligible for benefits and have a payment or deposit on my account, but I don’t have a card.
    • If you have recently applied for benefits then a card may be on its way.  Check your self-service options, if that is not possible call Conduent and have the status of your card.
  • I have my card, but I don’t know my pin.
    • Check the website self-service option below first and then call.
  • Conduent provides online and access to your account balances and transaction through both phone 1-866-320-8699 and web site.  


Conduent is not able to answer these questions:

  • When will I receive a payment or a deposit?
    • Deposits are sent from OESC to Conduent based on the determination from OESC and claimants successfully completing their weekly certification claim.
  • When will I receive a card? 
    • Cards are mailed within 2 business days and are delivered by USPS.  Mail delivery times can vary in your area.  Expedited cards cannot be delivered to P. O. Boxes. Cards issued via USPS are not eligible to be forwarded.
  • I’m receiving errors on my weekly filing, what do I do?
  • When will my benefits be approved?
  • I’m self-employed, how do I receive benefits?
  • I have received my letter indicating that I have benefits and I’ve lost my previous card that is older than 3 years?
    • In this case, a new card will be issued with a new expiration date to the address on file.  Check the web portal self-service option to validate your address.
How are payments made, and can I set up direct deposit?

When filing for unemployment, claimants will be issued a debit card that all unemployment payments will be dispersed to. OESC does not issue checks. Claimants can use the debit card as a regular debit card by activating it upon receipt, or set up direct deposit by transfering the payments from the debit card into your own U.S. banking account, for no fee. To set up direct deposit, claimants must have received their card first to set up the process.

If claimants have previously been issued a debit card for unemployment payments within the past three (3) years, the new payments will be issued to that debit card unless otherwise specified.  If that card is no longer accessible, please contact our payment processing vendor Conduent at 1-866-320-8699 or by visiting

How long does it take to get the debit card?

An Unemployment Insurance benefit debit card will be issued to you at the time your first eligible week processes.  It normally takes between 7 - 18 days to receive the card. Do not throw the debit card away. It is valid for three years. If you have previously been issued a debit card for payment within the past three years, your payment will be issued to that debit card unless otherwise specified.  If you no longer have your previously issued debit card, please contact Conduent at 1-866-320-8699.

Can debit cards be expedited?

Cards can be expedited by Conduent, but there is a fee for the additional mailing costs.  These will be deducted from the balance on the card.  There is a limited number of debit cards Conduent can issue in a single day, so in rare cases claimants may be unable to expedite cards.

When will I receive my payment?

Benefit payments are typically made within 2-3 days of the weekly certification claim being filed. By law, the first payable (or allowable) week of the claim is considered to be a waiting period. Although you must still file your weekly claim (either by phone or internet), you will not be paid for the waiting period week.

No benefits will be paid if:

  • there are insufficient wages to establish monetary eligibility
  • there are issues are being investigated, or
  • you do not file your weekly claim.

How do I change my PIN number?

Our customer service representatives do not have access to view your PIN. If you forgot your number or want to change it, you can reset your PIN online, visit a local Oklahoma Works office, or call us at 1-800-555-1554 to have a representative reset your PIN so you can establish a new one.

How and when do I file my weekly claim?

After you have filed your initial application for benefits, you must file weekly claims in order to receive compensation. The filing week is from Sunday to Saturday. You cannot file a weekly claim until after the week is over, so it is encouraged to file on Sundays for the previous week. If you attempt to file before the week has ended, your claim will not be accepted.

Weekly claims can be filed online or by calling 1-800-555-1554

What if I can't file my weekly claim?

Contact our Customer Service Center at 1-800-555-1554 if you encounter any problems when filing your weekly claim. You may also visit one of our local Oklahoma Works offices to receive assistance.

Are there extensions available if I’ve previously exhausted my claim?

Currently there are two (2) possible extensions for individuals who exhaust regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. The CARES Act included the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which is up to a thirteen (13) week extension. The State of Oklahoma then implemented State Extended Benefits, which adds another thirteen (13) week extension.

There are currently no extensions available for individuals filing for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

There is an "issue" on my claim. What does that mean?

If there is an 'issue' on your claim that is preventing payment, OESC must investigate the issue and determine whether you are eligible to receive benefits. That process can take varying amounts of time to resolve depending on the issue. If you are approved, payments will be backdated to the date the claim was filed. 

How do I stop or cancel my claim?

To stop your claim, simply discontinue filing weekly claims.  No additional payments will be made. To cancel your claim please submit a copy of your Social Security card and government issued ID, along with a written statement detailing the reason for the request.  You may fax the request to 405-962-7524.

What if I forget to file my weekly claim on Sunday?

Weekly claims must be filed within fourteen (14) days of the week ending date to be considered timely.  Claims which are filed untimely may not be paid.

What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a federal benefit included in the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to self-employed, contract, and gig workers who are not traditionally eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI). This program remains in effect until 12/26/2020.

How do I file a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claim?

To begin filing for a PUA claim, please visit Once you've completed the PUA initial application, you'll need to file weekly certifications to receive benefits.

Who is eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?

PUA is available to unemployed individuals not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), which includes State Extended Benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). It does not include individuals able to telework with pay or individuals receiving paid sick or other leave.

Are my Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits taxable?

PUA benefits are subject to federal income taxes. An option of voluntarily withholding federal income tax from benefits is available. You have the option of having federal income tax in the amount of 10% withheld from your weekly assistance amount (after applicable adjustments such as earnings and retirement).

If you choose to have federal income taxes withheld from your claim, you will be permitted to change your withholding status in the future if you desire. If you desire to change your original decision, you must request a change in through any of our local Oklahoma Works offices.

How are my weekly Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) assistance amounts computed?

The computation of the weekly assistance amount for PUA will be based on the gross wages for an unemployed worker and net earnings for self-employed individuals. All wages earned for the performance of services in the most recently completed tax year (2019) will be used to compute the weekly assistance amount.

The weekly assistance amount will be calculated in accordance with Oklahoma Employment Security Law. The weekly amount shall be the weekly amount of compensation that the individual would have been paid as regular unemployment insurance compensation unless the weekly benefit amount is less than 50% of the average weekly payment of regular unemployment insurance benefits. The maximum weekly assistance amount shall not exceed the maximum weekly benefit amount of regular unemployment insurance benefits payable in the state. Employment, wages, and self-employment that are not covered by the Oklahoma Employment Security Law shall be treated in the same manner and with the same effect as covered employment and wages. Employment and wages that are prohibited by federal law shall not be included in the computation of weekly assistance amount

What is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)?

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is a federal program that provides up to an extra 13 weeks of unemployment benefits for individuals who have exhausted their regular unemployment insurance benefits The effective dates for this program are 3-29-20 to 12-26-20.

Who is eligible for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation?

To qualify for PEUC benefits, an individual must:

  • Have a benefit year ending after 7-1-2019

  • Must have exhausted regular benefit allowance

  • Must file the PEUC application

Why do I need to file a PEUC application?

Individuals whose benefit year has ended since 7-1-2019 will be required to file a new regular unemployment claim before allowing a PEUC claim to be established. This is to determine eligibility for regular unemployment benefits. If the individual is monetarily eligible for a new regular unemployment claim, that claim will be established and paid rather than the PEUC regardless of the change in the Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA). Individuals who establish a new claim that is not monetarily eligible will be allowed to file a PEUC claim.

How do I file for PEUC benefits?

To file for PEUC benefits, go to In the Access Benefits box in the upper right-hand corner, you will need to either sign in or create an account if you have not already done so. This will require that you enter an email address and password.

If you are creating an account, you will need to complete the registration page. This will require a valid email address, and you must provide a password.

If you already had an account, you must log in to that account.

You will then be taken to your account page. From the account page, select on Apply for Traditional Unemployment Benefits.

Next, click on the button that says Apply for Traditional Unemployment Benefits.

From the next page, go to the bottom, under item 3, Start your Application and click the “Get Started” button.

The first page you see will be the misconduct statement, the next page will ask for your social security number and after you provide that, along with your PIN and possibly security questions, you will be given a menu.

Click the link that says, “File for a claim for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.” After you complete your application, depending upon the effective date of the PEUC claim, you may be given the option to file a weekly claim for benefits.

What if I am still within my benefit year?

Individuals who are still within a benefit year will be eligible for their regular unemployment claim WBA when filing for PEUC.

What does the CARES act outline as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)?

The CARES Act which has been passed by Congress and signed by the President created three new unemployment insurance (UI) programs to provide expanded UI benefits due to COVID-19.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), expands unemployment benefits to self-employed, contract, and gig workers who are not traditionally eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI). This program may provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits, and remains in effect until 12/26/2020.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is a program that provides up to an extra 13 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who have exhausted regular UI benefits. This program remains in effect until 12/26/2020.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provides an additional $600 per week to  UI, PUA, and PEUC weekly claims. Payments are not payable for any week ending after July 31, 2020. Accordingly, the last week that FPUC payments will be paid is the week ending July 25, 2020.

What is the duration of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits?

The disaster assistance program begins with the first week following the date the pandemic or major disaster began. During the assistance period, benefits are available to individuals as long as their unemployment, which must have been caused by the disaster, continues or until they are reemployed in a suitable position, but no longer than 26 weeks after the major disaster is declared. An applicant's continued eligibility for benefits is determined on a week-to-week basis.

For the COVID-19 pandemic, the duration of benefits will be 02/02/2020 through 12/26/2020.

Do I have to make work searches during the COVID-19 pandemic?

No. At this time the OESC has waived the work search requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the required number of work search contacts is zero, individuals should respond “yes” when asked if the required number of work search contacts have been made when filing a weekly claim for benefits.

Do I have to serve a waiting period during the COVID-19 pandemic?

No. The Governor has signed an Executive Order waiving the waiting period. All claims filed with an effective date of 3/15/20 or later will have the waiting period waived as long as the order remains in effect.

What do I do if I get a card with no balance?

If you receive a debit card with no balance, that may just mean that your eligibility to receive benefits has not been processed yet. You can go to to review your claim status. 

What to do if you get bounced off the system before finishing?

Call 1-800-555-1554 and tell the agent you received a system error and need to finish filing your claim or need to verify that the claim has been filed. 

How can I correct information I submitted incorrectly?

You will need to speak with an agent to have any answers corrected or changed. They may require additional information or documentation to validate any changes needed. You can call 1-800-555-1554 or visit one of our local offices to receive assistance.  

How much am I eligible to receive?

The amount that an individual qualifies for is based on wages earned from covered employers during the base period. The base period is the first four of the previous five completed calendar quarters. You can access information about your claim, including monetary entitlements, by visiting and signing in. Oklahoma’s maximum weekly benefit amount (WBA) for the year 2020 is $539.

This does not include additional weekly amounts that you may be eligible for under the CARES act.