After verifying your eligibility to collect unemployment benefits, the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission determines how much money you can receive. Your weekly benefits are limited by law to preserve the intent of the unemployment program in the Sooner State. To receive the maximum amount, you must earn enough insured wages in your "base period." Oklahoma unemployment insurance laws limit your weekly benefit amount to no more than $358 per week as of 2011.
The OESC doesn't look at just any wages when determining your weekly benefit amount. It focuses on insured wages, the ones you earned from work covered under Oklahoma unemployment law. Although this may include most work for which you receive an IRS Form W-2, self-employment and independent contract work are excluded.
All of the insured wages you must earn to reach the maximum benefit must occur during your base period. This is the first four of the last five full calendar quarters before you filed your unemployment claim. The "high quarter" is the quarter in which you earned the most wages during your base period.
You must have earned enough wages in your previous employment to qualify for the weekly unemployment benefit. The OESC calculates your benefits by totaling your wages in the highest-earning quarter of your base period and dividing by 23. To collect the maximum weekly benefit, you must earn at least $8,234 during your highest quarter.
The maximum weekly unemployment benefit in Oklahoma is based on the average working wage in the state, so it can change each year. The limit is meant to prevent you from collecting exorbitant compensation payments while receiving unemployment.