Friday, August 21, 2020

Feds approve Oklahoma's application for additional unemployment program, $300 per week for claimants

Unemployed Oklahomans to receive additional $300 per week under approved program 

OKLAHOMA CITY (August 19, 2020)-- Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved the State's application to provide unemployed Oklahomans with an additional $300 per week in benefits under the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. 

"I am thankful for the teams at the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission and the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management for working effectively with FEMA to ensure our application quickly received a stamp of approval," said Gov. Stitt. "I look forward to working with OESC to make sure the additional $300 in weekly benefits are distributed efficiently and on target to help Oklahomans as they continue working to find secure employment."

“I appreciate the quick turnaround from FEMA in response to the state’s request to implement the Lost Wages Assistance program,” said Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management Director Mark Gower. “Our agency looks forward to continued partnership with OESC and FEMA throughout the life cycle of this grant.”

The ninth state to be approved for the program, Oklahoma will begin the process of implementing LWA immediately.

“OESC's priority continues to be getting Oklahomans the help they need. The agency partnered with Department of Emergency Management to submit the FEMA application and we are proud to be one of the first 10 states to get our application approved,” said Shelley Zumwalt, interim executive director of OESC. “We’re operating in a compressed timeline with the understanding people across our state need help; and while many other states are estimating implementation to take up to 10 weeks, we are anticipating implementation within our system in four-to-five weeks.”

Authorized by President Trump, LWA will provide eligible claimants with additional benefits starting with weeks beginning on or after Aug. 1, 2020 and ending no later than Dec. 27, 2020.

In order to qualify for LWA benefits, Oklahomans will be required to provide proof they are unemployed or partially unemployed as a result of COVID-19, and the State must confirm that the individual is receiving at least $100 of underlying unemployment benefits from OESC. 

To view the original announcement of Oklahoma's LWA application, click here.


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