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Stitt To End Federal Pandemic Relief, Announces Return To Work Incentive

Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday Oklahoma will end federal enhanced unemployment benefits and start offering a $1,200 return to work incentive. He was joined by (from left) Ralph's Packing owner Erica Hering, State Chamber President and CEO Chad Warmingt

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Monday federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits will be coming to an end June 26.

Gov. Stitt along with Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt announced a new Return to Work Incentive for Oklahomans who are on unemployment.

The first 20,000 Oklahomans currently receiving unemployment benefits who return to the workforce will receive a $1,200 incentive using funds from the American Rescue Plan. All federal benefits will end June 26, 2021, giving Oklahomans six weeks’ notice of termination.

About 90,000 Oklahomans currently receive the additional benefit, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. After June 27, the only state-run financial benefits available to out-of-work Oklahomans will be traditional unemployment payments that existed before the pandemic began.

“You know, the best social program is a job. Ronald Regan said that. And it is so exciting to be part of a team and be part of a workforce. And so, we want to encourage people to get back to work," Stitt said.

The incentive will be offered to people currently receiving unemployment benefits who work for one employer a minimum of six consecutive weeks at 32 hours a week or more.

Oklahoma joins several Republican-led states in planning to leave the federal government’s supplemental unemployment benefits program. Neighboring states Texas and Arkansas will cease payments on June 26 as well.

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Nyk has worked in radio since 2011 serving as a board operator, on-air announcer and production director for commercial radio stations in Iowa. Originally from the Quad Cities area, Nyk joined KGOU in 2018 as a practicum student studying Creative Media Production at OU. Upon graduating the following year, he became part of KGOU’s staff and is now the local Morning Edition host. When not on the air, Nyk likes to read, listen to music and follow news about the radio industry.
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