Unemployment changes in Oklahoma, House Bill 1933

Governor Stitt has signed into law, a bill which will cut Oklahoma unemployment benefits from 26 weeks down to 16 weeks
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 6:22 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Governor Stitt has signed into law, a bill that will cut Oklahoma unemployment benefits from 26 weeks down to 16 weeks.

House Bill 1933 will go into effect starting January of 2023, changing the duration of unemployment benefits by 10 weeks. Lyle Roggow, president of the Duncan Area Economic Development Foundation, said he understands why the change was needed, to help with the workforce shortage happening in Oklahoma.

“Really, all of us are facing the same problem and that is a shortage of workforce. So this is an opportunity to get those who are maybe unemployed to get into the workforce quicker. It’s an attempt because we are setting about 3.1% unemployment and Comanche at 3.3% all of us in Oklahoma and across the nation are scrambling to find workers to fill the voids,” said Roggow.

Executive Director of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, , Shelley Zumwalt, sent 7News a statement on how the agency is working on its operation changes before the law goes into effect.

“Once HB 1933 was signed into law, the agency began working with staff to ensure the appropriate processes and technology are put into place to smoothly implement the first phase of the legislation,” said Zumwalt.

The new law does have stipulations to protect Oklahomans in case of a recession. According to the text of the bill, in 2025 the number of weeks to receive benefits could be extended, depending on how many people are claiming unemployment.

“To a more challenging situation, where more and more people can’t find work when we get into companies are laying off. I am sure that the legislator will make an adjustment going the other way because these are federal funds that come down to the state and are used,” said Roggow.

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