TLO guide to filing for Oklahoma unemployment

Hopefully if you’re reading this, you still have a job and are enjoying working from home. Your coworkers are pets, the snack selection is more personally catered to your tastes, and every day is Pantsless Friday.

If you’re like me and part of the growing 45,000 other Oklahomans who just got the boot, you may be out of work at least until the end of the month. It was my first time ever filing for unemployment, and it was not that easy of a process. Half of my Facebook feed right now are my service industry friends rageposting ‘WHY CAN’T I GET THIS TO WORK WHERE’S MY MONEY I’VE BEEN ON HOLD FOR 6 HOURS NOBODY HAS ANY ANSWERS!’

From reading other people’s comments, I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the common problems and how to solve them. Here’s my best advice to navigate the process:

File Online

Obviously, the first thing you need to do is go to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission website to file. It is so ancient that it makes the old Braum’s site look like it came from the future. The website will crash, and crash, and then you’ll walk away and come back four hours later and buddy, it’s gonna crash again. I recommend getting one of those bird toy things like Homer Simpson used and have it peck away at the F5 button cuz buddy it’s gonna take a while. Luckily, time no longer exists, so you can hop on at 3am when there’s less traffic and have better luck with the server.

Think About Your Life

You’re gonna have plenty of time in the waiting through this whole frustrating process to consider your life decisions and how exactly you wound up here. Watch some college lectures on YouTube, work on your resume, and if you wound up here not because of the pandemic but because you were working in oil and natural gas, might be a good moment to ponder joining another industry.

Get Your Money (Hopefully)

In the next couple days, if everything went right in filing, you should hopefully get a letter in the mail stating your benefits. Not an email, what year do you think we’re living in, pal? Snail mail. If you are approved, there are two ways to access your money. One is a debit card, which will come to you in the mail in about 7-10 business years. The other, faster way is to sign up for direct deposit online. Do this as soon as you get approved, and you should get funds pretty quickly. Again, hopefully.

File Every Sunday

Thought you were done with the 1992 Netscape torture device that is the OESC website? Just because you’re not working doesn’t mean you ain’t gotta work for it. They require you to make your weekly hat in hand groveling to remind them, ‘Sir, no sir, I do not have a job. Thank you, sir.’ Make sure to return to that hellhole every Sunday, try to log on while 45,000 other people are, and spend your entire day hitting refresh until either the site works, your computer monitor renders you blind, or just decide maybe it would be easier to live in a tent at Lake Thunderbird.


The entire process is baffling and not described very well on the website. Legend has it, it was originally an ancient shamanic ritual only to be understood by the wisest man in a civilization long forgotten by time. As such, much of the knowledge has been lost to time. When you get a problem, the phone number listed on the site will either be busy, or you will be subjected to a 48 hour holding period with weird porno music playing. Again, this is how they make you work for it. Send them an email instead (which is shocking that they use such a modern form of communication) and you’ll probably have better luck.

Try Prayer

I have never advocated for religion, but ya know what, now is a good time to try it out. They say god works in mysterious ways, but it can’t be any more mysterious than the byzantine inner workings of the OESC. You’ve got nothing to lose, except maybe picking one of the religions that isn’t real, but after trying going through all of the above you will be well prepared and calloused to an eternity of pain and suffering.

Well, that’s really all I’ve got, but this guide will prepare you much more than the actual state agency charged with keeping a little bit of money in your bank account. If you’ve got any more tips, shout em out in the comments!