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Return to Work incentive program begins Thursday

Posted at 6:13 AM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 07:56:50-04

TULSA, Okla. — The first payments of governor Stitt’s Return to Work incentive program will be distributed Thursday. However, many hopeful claimants may be disappointed.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission tells 2 News the majority of applications were thrown out.

READ MORE: Gov. Stitt announces $1,200 workforce incentive, unemployment benefits end early

The agency received about 10,000 applicants in just the first two weeks of the program opening but more than 80-percent of them were denied. Only 2,000 applicants are making it to the final review stage out of 20,000 available spots.

OESC says most applicants either didn’t meet the requirements or there were inaccuracies on their pay-stubs. The agency is now encouraging applicants to read the submission instructions carefully in order to be approved for payments.

The program offers a $1,200 bonus to anyone who returns to long-term employment. Specifically, if they are working at least 32 hours per week for six weeks between May 17 and September 4.

“What we’re seeing is people going back to work and then leaving rather quickly. So the back to work initiative is to promote stable employment,” executive director for OESC, Shelley Zumwalt said.

READ MORE: Applications live for Oklahoma's Return to Work incentive

The agency is expecting more applicants in the coming weeks as claimants finish their six consecutive weeks of employment in July and August. To apply for the program, CLICK HERE.

2 News would like to hear how this program impacts you. You can email Brady Halbleib directly at: Brady.Halbleib@kjrh.com.


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