Oklahoma Judge Orders the Return of Extra Unemployment Benefits
This past Friday (08-06-21) Oklahoma District Judge Anthony Bonner Jr. ordered the state to resume the additional Federal unemployment benefits in Oklahoma that are a part of the "American Rescue Plan."
Governor Kevin Stiit ended the extra $300 weekly payments that people on unemployment were receiving and instead used the money to fund a back to work cash incentive. Several lawsuits were filed challenging the legality of the changes and whether or not Gov. Stitt had the authority to make the changes and cancel the extra benefits along with the OESC (Oklahoma Employment Security Commission).
People on unemployment were receiving an additional $300 weekly along with the standard unemployment benefits throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The extra payments were set to run until September 2021, but several governors have already expired the payments in their state. Most, like Oklahoma, were using the Federal aide money to fund various back to work incentives and programs.
Now just because the judge has issued a preliminary injunction to order the Labor Department to resume the payments it won't happen overnight. It will take awhile and have to make it's way through all the usual steps and legal hurdles in order to happen. This is just the first step in the process.
The order or injunction not only covers returning the extra $300 weekly unemployment benefits in Oklahoma it also extends the unemployment cut off and expands unemployment benefits to others who may not have qualified in the past including those who are self employed or under-employed.
A more detailed order is expected from District Judge Anthony Bonner Jr. maybe as soon as today (08-09-21). In the meantime he's ordered the state to not cancel or withdraw from the program until the order is finalized or when it expires next month in September. We'll keep you posted.
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