February 25, 2024

Oklahomans are still waiting for the new pandemic unemployment benefits promised by President Trump three weeks ago. The state agency director handling unemployment claims stated that it could be another month before people see the extra money. The new funds are going through a different process than the original pandemic benefits, and while Congress originally approved an additional $600 a week, Trump ordered an extension at a lower level with a different funding process. The executive director of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission stated that the agency is working with outdated technology that is being upgraded and is working to get the new benefits paid as quickly as possible. Although Trump’s order called for $400 a week, it will be $300 a week extra in Oklahoma as the money is coming through the Federal Emergency Management Agency rather than Congress. The agency expects it to take longer to process. The director expressed hope that the new benefits will start in mid to late September and assured that back pay will be included. Despite the delay, she emphasized that they have acted quickly to get the application in and be ahead of the pack, but is also hopeful that the agency will propose changes to prevent such delays in the future.

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