OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) is now accepting pre-applications from claimants impacted by COVID-19 related job loss or business closure who do not otherwise qualify for traditional Unemployment Insurance compensation benefits.

Known as PUA, these federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits are intended for gig workers, independent contractors, other self-employed individuals, and workers whose regular unemployment benefits have expired and were laid off, furloughed, or are otherwise out of work due to the pandemic.

“We want people to register and complete the pre-application process even though Oklahoma is not yet authorized to begin paying these benefits,” said OESC Executive Director Robin Roberson. “This is an important first-step in being able to receive this relief as quickly as possible when the state is ready to begin processing these claims.”

PUA applicants may begin the process at https://ui.ok.gov/. Click on the “GET STARTED” button to register and begin the pre-application process. The pre-application process is secure.

“We encourage everyone who doesn’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits to complete the PUA pre-application,” Roberson said. “Once you’ve completed the PUA pre-application, you’re already in line when we begin paying out this relief.”

It’s important for Oklahomans to know the funding for PUA is still pending and relief will be available soon. All payments for relief will be backdated to the date the COVID-19 related job loss or business closure occurred. Approved applicants will also receive the $600 additional weekly benefit through the week ending July 25, 2020.

PUA applicants should ensure they qualify and have all required information on hand before beginning the pre-application process.

Individuals who have been denied regular unemployment benefits should apply for PUA compensation for COVID-19 related job loss.