Oklahoma commission extends unemployment aid

Debbie Blossom, Business Writer Published: July 9, 2009

/> "To the extent ARRA 2009 will help states continue to provide at least some income to downsized workers, it will help the overall economy not only by allowing unemployed individuals to maintain some level of spending while job seeking, but also by forestalling their use of savings accounts, retirement savings or additional borrowing via credit cards or home equity loans,” Hazelton said.

The downside is fewer than half of the 14.7 million now unemployed nationally, and virtually none of the "underemployed” currently qualify for any government unemployment benefits at all, for a variety of reasons, he said.

States that had an average seasonally adjusted unemployment rate 6.0 percent or higher for a three-month period were eligible to offer the extension, the commission said.

Oklahoma’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.3 percent in May, 6.2 percent in April and 5.9 percent in March.

Who is eligible for extension

Eligibility for this latest round of extended unemployment benefits, called EUC Tier 2, is based on a person’s past claim history, and they must meet the following criteria:

• Unemployed as of July 5.

• Original unemployment claim was exhausted between July 6, 2008, and July 5.

• Not currently receiving unemployment benefits.

Those seeking the Tier 2 unemployment extension are advised to file online at unemployment.ok.gov and clicking on the "File for EUC Tier 2 Benefits” link. Online filing is available 24/7. Applicants can also call 525-1500 in the metro area or (800) 555-1554 outside of Oklahoma City. Telephone filing is available only Wednesday, Thursday or Friday each week. The first payable week for Tier 2 claims is the week ending Friday.

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