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Frequently Asked Questions

Before Applying

Do I qualify?

  1. Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

    You’re considered unemployed any week you work fewer than 40 hours and earn less than your weekly benefit amount. Your weekly benefit amount is 1.25% of your base year* total earnings. For example, if you earned $20,000 in your base year, your weekly benefit amount would be $250. For claims filed before June 28, 2020, the minimum regular unemployment insurance (UI) payment is $151 per week and the maximum is $648 per week. For new initial claims filed after June 28, 2020, the minimum is $157 and the maximum is $673.

    If you do qualify, you have to file a claim for each week you want benefits, and meet the weekly eligibility requirements.

    For regular unemployment benefits, you qualify if you meet these weekly eligibility requirements:

    • You’re considered unemployed during the week you want benefits for,
    • You were paid at least $1,000 or worked at least 500 hours in your base year,
    • You earned at least some of your base year wages in Oregon,
    • Your employer(s) paid, or should have paid, unemployment insurance taxes on your base year wages, and
    • You are able to work, available for work, and actively seeking work. Note that this requirement has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See our temporary rules.

    If you are in the restaurant and bar industry, here is general information on certain types of employment and compensation in the restaurant and bar industry.

    For the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA), you may qualify if you are out of work due to COVID-19 and not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Learn more about PUA here.

    You can take our Eligibility Quiz to help figure out if you qualify. The only way to know for sure is to apply by filing an initial claim.

    *Your base year is usually the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the week in which you file your claim.

    • If you file your claim in March 2020, your base year is October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.
    • If you file your claim in April, May or June 2020, your base year is January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019.
    • If you file your claim in July, August, or September 2020, your base year is April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020.

    File a claim.

  2. My income has been affected by COVID-19. Can I get unemployment benefits?

    Most likely. The Employment Department set some temporary rules because of COVID-19. These rules started March 8, 2020, when the statewide emergency was declared. Under the new rules, you qualify for unemployment benefits if you meet the weekly eligibility requirements (see Question 1).

    Also, the CARES Act created the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 and not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Learn more about PUA here.

    File a claim.

  3. How do I know if my COVID-19 reason for wanting unemployment benefits counts as valid? In other words, what does “COVID-19 related situation” mean?

    In the Employment Department’s temporary rules, the “COVID-19 related situations” that mean you can still get benefits--as long as you meet the weekly eligibility requirements--are:

    • You can’t work because you’re sick with coronavirus.
    • You can’t work because you might have been exposed to coronavirus and are required to stay home.
    • You can’t work because your doctor or public health officials said you should stay home to prevent the risk of getting exposed to, or spreading, coronavirus.
    • You can’t work because your employer shut down or cut back due to coronavirus. This includes shutting down or cutting back due to the Governor’s Stay Home Save Lives order, or on the advice of public health officials.
    • You can’t work because you have to stay home to care for a family member, or other person you live with and provide care for, who is sick with coronavirus or is required to stay home.
    • You can’t work because you have to stay home to care for a child due to the closure of schools, child care providers, or similar facilities due to coronavirus.
    • You’re being asked back to work when going back would require you to disobey a doctor’s stay-home order or the Governor’s Stay Home Save Lives order.

    File a claim.

  4. My employer cut my hours/I have been furloughed part time. What do I do to get unemployment benefits?

    If your hours have been cut, you should apply for regular unemployment insurance. The best way to apply is by using our Online Claim System.

    You also may be eligible for Work Share if your employer participates in that program. Work Share is a type of unemployment benefits that partly replaces your income for the hours that were cut. This is a program that only employers can enroll in. Employees cannot enroll. Your employer would decide whether to participate or not. Ask your employer if they are participating in Work Share, or would consider applying. Employers can learn about Work Share here.

    For Work Share, you can only get benefits if your employer decides to participate in the program. If they do, they would fill out most of the paperwork. You would only need to fill out a two-page initial claim form. You don’t have to look for work or file weekly claims to get Work Share benefits. If you have other employment, you do have to report any income from that employment.

  5. I have been furloughed full time. What should I do to get unemployment benefits?

    You should apply for regular unemployment insurance. The best way to apply is by using our Online Claim System.

  6. What can I do if my workplace temporarily closes because of COVID-19?

    Unemployment benefits may be available to those who are on a temporary layoff. These benefits occur if your employer stops operation for a short period of time, such as cleaning following a coronavirus exposure or by government requirement. Workers can get benefits, and do not need to seek work with other employers. You must be able to work, stay in contact with your employer, and be available to work when called back.

  7. What if my employer is paying me while they are closed?

    Generally, you will not be eligible for benefits if your employer is paying you to remain away from the site or as stand-by pay.

  8. Can I qualify for unemployment benefits if I can only work part-time?

    Yes. A person will be considered “available to work” if they normally work less than full-time and are only available for less than full-time work.

  9. Can I get unemployment benefits if I am receiving employer-paid leave, vacation, sick time, or paid time off (PTO)?

    No. Workers receiving those funds are usually not eligible for unemployment benefits.

  10. What if I can take vacation or other leave pay while my employer is closed?

    If you are getting vacation or other leave pay while your employer is closed, you generally are not able to also receive unemployment insurance benefits.

  11. If I am forced to remain in my home, either because I am sick or am under quarantine, will I be eligible for unemployment benefits?

    Yes; a person will be considered “available to work" if they are:

    1. Quarantined by their health care provider, or by advice issued by public health officials to self-quarantine due to possible risk of exposure to, or spread of, the novel coronavirus, but they are not sick;
    2. Home sick because of the novel coronavirus or a condition with similar flu like symptoms and they have not turned down an offer of work since they began being at home due to the sickness; or
    3. Hospitalized, or in other institutionalized care, due to the novel coronavirus, but for less than half of the week, and they did not turn down an offer to work that week.
  12. Do I have to look for other work if my employer temporarily closes because of the coronavirus?

    If your employer expects to re-open in the future, you do not actively have to look for another job to receive benefits. To get benefits, you must:

    • be able to work;
    • stay in contact with your employer; and
    • be available to work when your employer calls you back to work.

    Note that when filing an online claim, our systems require you to enter your work search. You can bypass this during this pandemic by marking the temporary layoff option.

  13. Can I get unemployment benefits if I can’t look for work because of COVID-19?

    Normally you are required to be looking for work in order to get unemployment benefits. But because many people can’t look for work due to COVID-19, we created some temporary rules. These rules started March 8, 2020. The new rules say that if you were laid off temporarily for a reason related to COVID-19, you can still get unemployment benefits even if you aren’t looking for work. You need to stay in touch with your current employer, and go back to work when your employer calls you back. You can get unemployment benefits if you are not looking for work because:

    1. A doctor said you need to stay home to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. This is called quarantine.
    2. You are staying home following the Governor’s Stay Home, Save Lives order.
    3. You are home caring for children due to COVID-19 school closures and do not have child care.
  14. Do I have to look for other work if my employer temporarily closes because of the coronavirus?

    If your employer expects to re-open in the future, you do not actively have to look for another job to receive benefits. To get benefits, you must:

    1. Be able to work;
    2. Stay in contact with your employer; and
    3. Be available to work when your employer calls you back to work.

    If you are not still in contact with your employer, you are currently considered to be actively seeking work if you are doing what you can to be prepared to return to new work or find new employment.

    • Note that when filing an online claim, our systems require you to enter your work search. You can bypass this during this pandemic by marking the temporary layoff option.
    • During your temporary layoff period, please keep a written work search log in case it is requested in the future.

Apply

  1. Which type of unemployment benefits should I apply for?

    If you are an employee--and this includes some gig workers (whose employers are supposed to pay payroll taxes on their wages)--apply for regular unemployment benefits.

    If you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or a gig worker whose employer is not required to pay payroll taxes on your wages, apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

    Take our Eligibility Quiz to help figure out which unemployment benefits to apply for.

    It is important to apply for the right program--otherwise, your benefits will be delayed. If you apply for benefits you don’t qualify for, we will let you know, and will help you apply to the right program.

    File a claim.

  2. How do I file a claim?

    The best way to file is by using our Online Claim System​. If you are unable to file a claim online, you can call the Unemployment Insurance Center and file over the phone. Be sure to file your claim as soon as possible after you lose your job. Learn more about filing a claim.

    File a claim.

  3. What information and documents do I need to file a claim?

    For regular unemployment benefits, you will need:

    • Your name, Social Security number, birthdate and contact information.
    • Your complete work history for the past 18 months including:
      • employer name(s)
      • address(es)
      • phone number(s)
      • start and end dates of employment for each employer
    • Your bank account and routing number, if you want to sign up for direct deposit.

    For the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, you will need the above, plus:

    • Proof of earnings (only if you want a weekly benefit amount higher than the $205 minimum; see our PUA Income Documentation Guide) such as:
      • Form 1065 AND K-1 or W-2
      • Form 1040 or 1040-RS AND Schedule C
      • Form 1120s AND K-1 or W-2
    • The date you first became unemployed due to COVID-19
    • How much you earned during any past week for which you are seeking benefits

    File a claim.

  4. Can I apply for benefits retroactively? In other words, after the week I want benefits for?

    Yes, you can also apply for benefits retroactively, meaning anytime after the first week you started losing earnings. This is a new, temporary rule during the pandemic.

    For Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), you can file an initial claim for as far back as February 2, 2020. The best way to file is through our Online Claim System. To get benefits for past weeks, just list on your initial claim all the weeks you have been affected, and how much (if anything) you earned for each of those weeks.

    For regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, you can file an initial claim for as far back as March 15, 2020. But because the Online Claim System only allows one week of backdating for regular UI benefits, if you need to file an initial claim that is more than one week old, you will need to fill out our Contact Us form or call us at 1-877-File-4-U (1-877-345-3484).

Receiving Benefits

  1. Do I have to file a claim each week?

    Yes. A weekly claim is how we figure out how much money to send you for that week. A week is Sunday through Saturday. You can’t submit a weekly claim until the week is over.

    To start and keep getting benefits, you need to file a weekly claim every week. File a weekly claim even if you worked that week. Otherwise, you may have to start over later--you may have to file a new initial claim, and wait to get approved again.

    File your weekly claims even if you don’t know if your application has been approved yet. It can take at least 4 weeks for us to process your regular UI application, and at least 6 weeks to process PUA applications. If your application is approved, we will send you money for all the past weeks you were eligible for, as long as you filed your weekly claims.

  2. What other help can I get while I wait for my benefits?

    It will take at least four weeks for your unemployment benefits to arrive. You may qualify for other benefits too, like:

    • Help paying rent or finding housing
    • Help paying utility bills
    • Help getting groceries or other food, like food boxes or food pantries
    • Help finding and paying for child care
    • Cash benefits
    • Immediate help for people in a domestic violence situation
    • General information about COVID-19
    • Transportation help
    • Resources for immigrant and undocumented communities
    • Other resources available in your community

    Visit: 211info.org

    Call: 2-1-1 or 1-866-698-6155 (free language interpreters available by phone)

    TTY: dial 711 and call 1-866-698-6155

    Text: your zip code to 898211 (TXT211) (English and Spanish)

    Email: help@211info.org (English and Spanish

    And if you lost or don’t have health coverage, you may qualify for a free or low-cost health plan.

    Visit: healthcare.oregon.gov

    Call: 1-855-268-3767

  3. Are benefits retroactive? In other words, will I get "back pay" for past weeks I was eligible for benefits?

    Yes, benefits are retroactive. In other words, you will get benefit payments or “back pay” for all past weeks you were eligible for. This includes the extra $600 per week of FPUC benefits.

    For any weeks you were eligible for any type of unemployment benefits (regular, PUA, or extended), you will get benefit payments once your claim is processed. If you were eligible for any type of benefits during the time period FPUC is available (March 29 - July 25), you will get the extra $600 per week for those weeks once your claim is processed. You may get several payments at once.

    You can also apply for benefits retroactively, meaning anytime after the first week you started losing earnings. This is a new, temporary rule during the pandemic.

    For Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), you can file an initial claim for as far back as February 2, 2020. The best way to file is through our Online Claim System. To get benefits for past weeks, just list on your initial claim all the weeks you have been affected, and how much (if anything) you earned for each of those weeks.

    For regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, you can file an initial claim for as far back as March 15, 2020. But because the Online Claim System only allows one week of backdating for regular UI benefits, if you need to file an initial claim that is more than one week old, you will need to fill out our Contact Us form or call us at 1-877-File-4-U (1-877-345-3484).

  4. How do I get a PIN?

    You chose a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when you first filed your initial unemployment application, whether you filed online or by telephone. You will use the same PIN throughout your claim. You will need it whenever you access the Online Claim System and to claim weekly benefits whether online or by telephone. Agency employees do not know your PIN. If you forget it, you will have to ask us to reset it so that you can choose a new PIN. You can quickly do this through the Online Claim System if you have used it in the past and you remember your security questions. Otherwise you will need to contact us to request a PIN reset. You are responsible for the security of your PIN. Do not share it with anyone and don’t let others use it. Find instructions for resetting your PIN on our step-by-step guides page.

  5. My PIN number no longer works. How can I reset it?

    If someone is doing work on your claim, the system automatically deletes your PIN and OED staff have to take an extra step to reset it. If this step is somehow missed, you have to reset your PIN on the Online Claim System if you have used it in the past and you remember your security questions. Otherwise you will need to contact us. Find instructions for resetting your PIN on our step-by-step guides page.

  6. What is my Customer Identification Number (CID)?

    Your CID is an 11-digit number unique to you. You can find this number on any documentation we have sent you. If you do not know your number, you can get it by calling the Unemployment Insurance Contact Center. Be prepared to provide your Social Security Number, date of birth, and other verification information requested.​

  7. My bank account was frozen. What do I do?

    We are aware that some financial institutions are locking people out of their bank accounts after we deposit unemployment benefits. Some banks have account security measures to protect customers against fraud when there’s suspicious activity. There is nothing OED can do to bypass a bank's security procedures. We recommend contacting your bank and following their advice for unlocking your account. If you still need our help to get your funds, use the Contact Us form, select, “My weekly payment or missing payment,” and explain your situation to us in the comment box.

Check on my claim/claim status

  1. How do I check the status of my claim?

    To check the status of your claim, log into our Online Claim System. Go to the “Status of Your Claim and Weekly Reports” section. It will show you which weeks you have claimed and if any benefits have been paid.

  2. I haven’t received my benefits yet. What should I do?

    Right now, the time between applying and getting your first check is a minimum of four weeks. Normally, the federal government considers three weeks “on time.” It is taking us longer due to COVID-19. More people are applying for unemployment benefits than ever before.

    If it has been less than four weeks since you applied for unemployment benefits by filing your initial claim, please do not contact us yet. We are processing your application. Contacting us before then will not help you get benefits faster. It actually slows down our ability to process claims for everyone.

    If it has been four weeks or more since you submitted your initial claim and you have not heard from us, please call us at 1-877-FILE4UI (1-877-345-3484) for regular claims, or 1-833-410-1004 for PUA claims.

  3. It’s been more than the minimum four weeks since I applied, and I haven’t received my benefits yet. When can I expect them?

    It takes us four weeks to process a simple claim. If you do not get your check after four weeks, you likely have a complex claim.

    Here are some common reasons for a wait time longer than four weeks:

    • You missed a week (or more) of filing your weekly claim. This is the most common reason for a delay in getting benefits. You have to file a weekly claim each week if you want to keep getting benefits. If you miss a week, go into our Online Claim System and restart your claim. If you are not able to restart your claim online, you will need to call and speak to an employee to help you.
    • You didn’t report your earnings in your weekly claim.
    • You had earnings from the military, federal government, or that were earned in another state. It takes time for us to hear back from their systems.
    • Your case requires extra follow-up. Our claims experts have to talk to you, your boss, and/or others because:
      • You’re not able to work
      • You’re not actively seeking work
      • You quit
      • You were fired
      • You have certain kinds of income we need to factor in, like some pension payments
    • You were scheduled to return to work. This automatically stops your claim because we think you’re working and don’t need benefits anymore. You need to let us know if you didn’t return to work and why. Or if you did, what your earnings were.

    If any of these apply to you, you can expect to wait longer than four weeks for your benefits. Your claim requires manual review by a claims specialist. A claims specialist will be reaching out to you, so please answer your phone.

  4. What does my claim status message in the portal mean? What should I do?

    Here are some common claims status messages that will show up through the Online Claim System, what they mean, and what you can do:

    Message: Your claim for the week ending <Saturday's date> was processed for payment on <date claim processed>. Because of the time it takes for processing and mailing, please allow four days from the day you claimed the week before inquiring about a late benefit payment.

    What it means: Your claim has been processed and we sent the payment. You will get your check in four days or less.

    What you can do: There is no need to take any action.

    --

    Message: Your claim for the week ending <Saturday's date> has been received but not paid because of a problem. Information and instructions have been mailed to you.

    What it means: We need more information from you in order to figure out if you were eligible for benefits this week.

    What you can do: Call us.

    • For regular unemployment claims:
      1-877-File-4-U (1-877-345-3484)
    • For the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program:
      Toll free: 1-833-410-1004
      Local: 1-503-370-5400

    --

    Message: Your claim for the week ending <Saturday's date> was credited as a waiting week on <date claim processed>.

    What it means: Before COVID-19, Oregon law required that you wait one week of unemployment before you could start getting any unemployment benefits. This is called the waiting week. You still have to file a claim that week. This message tells you that your claim was for the waiting week.

    The rules recently changed and now states can waive the waiting week so people can get benefits one week sooner. We are working on making this update to our computer system. Unfortunately, we expect it to take several months. Once we make the update, we will send you the benefits we owe you for that first week. We will post an update here as soon as we have one.

    What you can do: Please do not call or email us about the waiting week. We are already doing all we can. Calling or emailing about this only delays our ability to process everyone’s benefits.

    --

    Message: We received your report for the week ending <Saturday's date>. However, the computer cannot find a claim for you. If you are a new claimant, you need to allow five working days for your file to be added to the system. If you are not a new claimant, you need to call your Unemployment Insurance Center. Unemployment insurance claims are no longer handled through our local Employment offices.

    What you can do: If you filed your initial claim less than five business days ago, there is no need to take any action. If you filed your initial claim more than five business days ago, call us.

    For regular unemployment claims:

    1-877-File-4-U (1-877-345-3484)

    --

    Message: Your report for the week ending <Saturday's date> has been received but not paid because we cannot find a new claim for you. If you have already filed a new claim to determine your benefit eligibility, it is still being processed by your Unemployment Insurance office. You do not need to contact them again. After your new claim is processed, the week you just claimed will be processed automatically. If you have not filed a new claim for benefits you need to do so by calling your Unemployment Insurance Center. Unemployment insurance claims are no longer handled through our local Employment offices.

    What it means: You have not filed an initial claim for benefits, or if you did, it has not yet been processed. To get benefits, you have to file both an initial claim to determine if you qualify for unemployment insurance benefits, and a weekly claim for each week that you want to receive benefits. This message means you filed a weekly claim, but your initial application for benefits was either not filed, or has not yet been processed.

    What you can do: If you have not already filed an initial claim for benefits, do so. If you have, and it has been more than five business days since you filed it and you are still seeing this message, call us at 1-877-File-4-U (1-877-345-3484).

    --

    Message: We received your report for the week ending <Saturday's date>. Payment information for this week will be available on <date>. Because of the time it takes for processing and mailing, please allow four days from the day you claimed the week before inquiring about a late benefit payment.

    What it means: We got and are processing your claim.

    What you can do: No action necessary. Just wait until the day it says payment information will be available. That’s when we will update your claim status.

    --

    Message: You have not yet established a claim for the week ending <Saturday's date> in our system. Please return to the menu and select: "Claim a Week of Benefits"

    What it means: You haven’t filed your weekly claim yet for this week.

    What you can do: File your weekly claim. To start getting unemployment benefits, you need to file a weekly claim. This is different than the initial claim (your application). You have to file both to get your benefits. A weekly claim is how we figure out how much money to send you for that week. A week is Sunday through Saturday. You can’t submit a weekly claim until the week is over. To keep getting benefits, you need to file a new weekly claim every week. File a weekly claim even if you worked that week. Otherwise, you may have to start over later--you may have to file a new initial claim, and wait to get approved again.

    --

    Message: The system is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

    What it means: The system is down for scheduled maintenance. Our system is unavailable from 12:30am to 2:00am each night for system maintenance. We also have scheduled downtime from 6:00pm - 8:00pm on the second Sunday of each month.

    Filing of New Claims is not available weekdays from 10:00pm until 2:00am, Saturday from 8:00pm until Sunday at 2:00am, and from Sunday at 8:30pm until Monday at 5:00am.

    Our system also sometimes needs to sync with the federal government’s system, and can’t when they have downtime.

    What you can do: Please try again later.

  5. I got a letter saying my application was denied. But then I got another letter saying I would be getting benefits. Will I be getting benefits?

    This happens when people applied to two programs and were ineligible for one, but eligible for the other. There are two main unemployment benefits programs you can apply to: regular unemployment insurance (UI), and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. You can’t be eligible for both at the same time.

    So if you got one denial letter and one approval letter, the letters are about two different programs. You will be getting benefits for the program you got approved for. Be sure to file your weekly claims to get your benefits each week.

  6. If I am trying to file a claim but I cannot get through by phone this week, can I report it next week and still get benefits for this week?

    The best thing to do is go online to file a new claim or restart your existing claim in our Online Claim System. With the current climate our phone lines are busier than usual, so we will check your situation and go back to the prior week when appropriate.

    If you applied for the PUA program, you currently can’t restart your claim using the Online Claim System. To restart your claim, please send us a message using our Contact Us form—pick the “Restarting my claim” option. Or call our PUA line at 1-833-410-1004. Please note that due to the increased call volumes, there are extended wait times.

  7. I got a letter saying I need to contact you within a certain number of days or risk losing their benefits, but I can’t get through. What should I do?

    If you get a letter or call from us saying we need information right away (like within 7 days), we do want that information as soon as possible. If you are unable to get the information to us because you cannot get through on our phone lines, we will allow additional time. If action is taken on your claim because we did not get the information when requested, we can go back and make corrections.

    We are adding more phone lines, and have been hiring and training more people to answer calls and to make calls. Wait times have gone down, but we recognize that they are still too long. We are calling people directly to address many of these situations.

  8. An adjudicator reached out to me because there was a problem with my claim. What do I need to do?

    If you get a communication from us saying we need information right away (e.g. within seven days, etc.), we do want that information as soon as possible. If you are unable to get the information to us because you cannot get through on our phone lines, we will allow additional time. If action is taken on your claim because we did not get the information when requested, we can go back and make corrections.

    With the increase in claims, we are estimating it will take about 10 weeks for an adjudicator to make a determination on your claim. We are in the process of hiring more adjudicators, which will shorten this timeline in the coming weeks.

  9. I got a notice that my claim needs to be (or has been) assigned to an adjudicator. What is adjudication and how long will this take? Is there anything I can do to get benefits while I wait?

    If an issue arises that requires additional review by an adjudicator, this may result in a significant delay of 12 to 14 weeks (as of 7/8/2020) from when we identify that issue. This is due to the sheer volume of claims requiring review and the federal laws requiring us to ensure people are eligible for benefits.

    Some common issues that require adjudication:

    • If somebody quits their job, determining if the circumstances disqualify them from getting benefits
    • If somebody is fired, finding out if the circumstances disqualify them from getting benefits
    • If somebody does not accept work that is offered to them, finding out if the circumstances disqualify them from getting benefits
    • For people who work for educational institutions, every break between school years or terms, we must adjudicate whether they are likely to be doing the same type of work after the break as they did before to determine if they can receive benefits during the break
    • If somebody is not available for work

    The Department’s temporary rules, adopted early in the pandemic, have greatly reduced the number of issues that have to be adjudicated. Even with this, the huge number of people seeking benefits means we are facing a record number of issues needing to be adjudicated.

    The most important thing we can do to speed this process up is hire more adjudicators, which we are doing.

    Update 7/31/20:
    We have found a way to pay benefits to people waiting for their claim to be reviewed by an adjudicator to determine whether they are eligible for regular unemployment or the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. We’re calling this “Benefits While You Wait.”

    We will contact you if you may be able to receive “Benefits While You Wait.” You may be eligible if you:

    1. Applied for regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits;
    2. Had your claim flagged for adjudication because the Employment Department has to determine if you meet the legal requirements to get regular unemployment benefits;
    3. Are out of work due to a COVID-19 qualifying reason; AND
    4. Are likely eligible for PUA if you cannot receive regular unemployment benefits.

    To get "Benefits While You Wait," apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and let us know in your application: 1) the COVID-19 reason you are out of work, and 2) the date you were first impacted by that reason. After you apply for PUA, keep filing weekly regular unemployment insurance (UI) claims for each week you want benefits. Do not file weekly PUA claims.

    We will review your PUA application to see if you qualify. If you do, we will know you qualify for at least one program, which means we can start paying you benefits. We will pay you your regular UI benefits until your UI claim is adjudicated. If, at the end of the adjudication process, it turns out that you qualified for regular UI benefits, nothing will change. You will keep getting UI benefits as long as you file your weekly claims and you are eligible. If it turns out you didn’t qualify for regular UI, then we will move your claims into the PUA program. If your PUA weekly benefit amount is higher, we will also send you the increase for all the past weeks you got the regular UI amount. You may get several payments at once.

    We are required to let you know that there is a chance this could result in overpayment that you would have to pay back. If you prefer to wait for benefits, no action is necessary.

  10. I got a letter that there is something wrong with my claim, but it doesn’t say what. What do I do with my claim now? Do I keep filing weekly as if everything is okay?

    Yes, you should continue to file your weekly claims as if everything is okay. Some common reasons why you will receive these letters are:

    • You reported that you either quit or were fired at the time you filed your initial claim.
    • Your claim is not valid because we don’t have a record of sufficient wages.
    • You waited longer than a week to file a weekly claim and now must restart.
    • When you filed a weekly claim, you reported that you did not meet one of the eligibility criteria.
  11. How long after my claim has been processed should I get a check? What if I don’t get a check?

    Seeing that your claim has been processed does not necessarily mean you are eligible for benefits. There could be issues holding up payment. The best way to check if your claim has been processed or if your payments were sent is to visit OED’s Online Claim System at Employment.Oregon.Gov/OCS. If you can see that your claim was processed, check the next day to see if payments were sent. Before contacting OED, wait for a notice from OED that says more information is needed.

  12. My benefits have been denied, reduced or have stopped. Why?

    Benefits are payable only if you are eligible. Common issues that make you ineligible include:

    • Quitting your job;
    • Being fired or suspended from work;
    • Missing an opportunity for work during a week you claim;
    • Refusing work;
    • Turning down or not contacting the employer when referred by a WorkSource Oregon office;
    • Missing a scheduled orientation meeting with a WorkSource Oregon office;
    • Illness or injury;
    • Failing to look for work;
    • School attendance;
    • Being out of the area unless you are looking for work;
    • Not being willing or ready to take work;
    • Receiving retirement pay, vacation pay, or holiday pay;
    • Skipping a week without restarting your claim; and
    • Answering a question on your weekly claim in a way that raises an issue.

    If there is a problem, we will contact you either by phone or mail. We will explain the problem and how it could affect your claim. We will ask you for details about the situation. Please reply quickly if you get a form to complete, a letter asking for information, or a telephone message. Your benefits could be delayed until you answer. If you do not answer at all, we may deny benefits. Continue to make your weekly claims either online or on the Weekly Claim Line while we investigate your claim.

    We will make a decision based on information from you, your employer or other sources. If the decision allows benefits and you meet all eligibility conditions, we pay any benefits you have coming, including for past weeks. Any time we deny benefits, we send you a decision explaining why we denied benefits, for what time period, how to requalify, and how to appeal if you disagree.

  13. I got a notice that I need to restart my claim. Why? How do I do that?

    The Employment Department automatically stops your claim if you:

    • Skip a week or more of filing your weekly claim
    • Earn your weekly benefit amount or more
    • Work full-time
    • Report no earnings after a week that you reported earnings

    If your claim is stopped for one of the reasons above, you must restart your claim. You may stop and restart your claim as many times as needed during your benefit year. Restart your claim during the week you want benefits for.

    If your claim was stopped because you worked, you can restart your claim using the Online Claim System and select the option “Restart your claim.”

    If you haven’t worked since last filing your weekly benefits, you can use the Online Claim System to restart your claim.

    If you’ve worked since you last filed for weekly benefits, you need to call us. Have your employer information ready when you call. This includes the dates you worked; the names, phone numbers and addresses of your employer(s); and your gross earnings from those employers. Once you’ve restarted your claim, you still need to file for weekly benefits.

    If you applied for the PUA program, you currently can’t restart your claim using the Online Claim System. To restart your claim, please send us a message using our Contact Us form—pick the “Restarting my claim” option. Or call our PUA line at 1-833-410-1004. Please note that due to the increased call volumes, there are extended wait times.

  14. I got a notice that my claim is invalid. What does that mean? What can I do?

    Your claim is invalid if you don’t meet the eligibility requirements described in Question 1. Usually it means you haven't earned enough money or worked enough hours to qualify for regular unemployment benefits. If your claim for regular unemployment benefits is invalid, you may qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Take our Eligibility Quiz to find out, or apply for PUA here.

  15. I got a notice that I’m qualified for unemployment benefits, but that the Employment Department is keeping them because of overpayment or fraud. When will I get my benefits?

    Overpayment. If you were paid benefits you weren’t eligible for, that creates an overpayment. If you’re overpaid, you will receive a notice with repayment information and appeal rights. Your notice will contain an administrative decision, which lists the reason for the overpayment. Overpayments can be caused by:

    • Incorrectly reporting earnings when filing weekly benefits
    • Incorrectly reporting retirement pay
    • Getting benefits, but the decision that said you were eligible is later reversed on appeal
    • Payment made before we learn about an issue with your claim
    • Your weekly benefit is reduced due to a correction in base year wages
    • Withholding information to receive benefits you were not eligible

    If you were overpaid, you must pay back the full amount. Don’t delay repayment. Collection methods may include:

    • Wage garnishment
    • Property liens
    • Interception of state and federal income tax refunds
    • Keeping future weekly unemployment benefit payments

    Don’t stop filing for weekly benefits just because you have an overpayment. Once the overpayment has been paid back, we will start paying your benefits. Some overpayment collection activities have been reduced or stopped during this pandemic.

    Fraud. Fraud is the intentional misreporting or withholding of information in order to get benefits. If you intentionally hide or report wrong information, it is fraud. FRAUD IS A CRIME and can result in penalties up to and including prosecution. Some examples that could be fraud:

    • Not reporting work you miss or jobs you turn down
    • Providing false information or withholding information to get benefits
    • Failing to report all of your earnings when filing for weekly benefits
    • Not reporting your job separation accurately (see Reporting separations from work)
    • Filing for weekly benefits while you were in jail

    Intentionally under-reporting or not reporting earnings when you file for weekly benefits is fraud. Fraud can not only cause overpayments, but can also lead to you getting ‘penalty weeks’ that stop you from receiving future benefits.

  16. I got a notice that said I won’t get my unemployment benefits until my penalty weeks are done. What are penalty weeks? What can I do?

    Penalty weeks are assessed, in addition to the overpayment, when you make a false statement or misrepresentation. The number of penalty weeks is determined by several factors, including the amount of overpayment. Penalty weeks must be served by claiming otherwise eligible weeks. It is similar to having extra "waiting weeks" on a claim. Penalty weeks remain in the system for five years after the decision is issued. Serving penalty weeks does not lower the overpayment.

    If you are ineligible for regular unemployment benefits because you must serve penalty weeks, you are likely eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. You should apply for PUA and file a weekly PUA claim for each week of your penalty weeks. The minimum weekly PUA benefit is $205, and if you get PUA you will also get the extra $600/week (ends July 25). The weeks you get PUA benefits do not count towards removing your penalty weeks.

  17. I got a letter saying my claim was denied. Can I make an appeal?

    Some people were denied because they said they weren’t looking for work with other employers. We made an automatic fix for that. Those claims will be processed and you should continue filing weekly claims. If you were denied regular unemployment benefits because you are self-employed, apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

    Any time the Employment Department reduces or denies your benefits, we will send you a notice, called an administrative decision. If you don't agree with the decision, you have the right to appeal it by requesting a hearing. The notice includes a form you can use to request a hearing, and instructions for filing an appeal.

    Most administrative decisions become final 20 days after we mail them, so don't wait to file an appeal if you want a hearing. If you don’t file an appeal within 20 days, you will lose your chance to change the decision. If you appeal an administrative decision, keep filing for benefits each week. If you don't claim each week while your appeal is pending, you may not be paid for those weeks if the appeal is decided in your favor.

    Hearings are held by phone and are conducted by an independent Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ will review your case and make a decision based on the available information. You are welcome to present your evidence to the ALJ. Learn more in the Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook.

Waiting Week

  1. What does waiving the ‘waiting week’ mean?

    The ‘waiting week’ is the first week of your claim when you meet all eligibility requirements. You must claim the week, but you are not paid for it. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are waiving the waiting week, which means you will be paid for this first week. It does not add any more benefits to your claim balance (your maximum benefit amount). You will still receive 26 weeks of regular UI benefits.

  2. How long has the ‘waiting week’ been waived for?

    The waiting week has been waived for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims which served a waiting week in the period of March 8, 2020, through Jan. 2, 2021. You will receive a waiting week payment if you filed an eligible initial claim for regular UI and you claimed your initial week within the approved period.

  3. Will I still receive my ‘waiting week’ payment if my claim is already exhausted (has a $0 balance)?

    If you are eligible to receive benefits from Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Extended Benefits (EB), we will adjust your benefits. You don’t need to do anything. Your benefit will be paid automatically.

    If you’ve exhausted all your benefits before ‘waiting week’ funds have been released and no funds are remaining from your claims to pay, you won’t receive any additional payments.

    For example, with regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), you get 26 weeks of benefits. Waiving the ‘waiting week’ does not give you an extra week of benefits, it simply pays that first week. If you’ve already received your 26 weeks of UI benefits, you don’t have any more weeks left. The same goes for PEUC -- if you have already received your 13 weeks of benefits, you don’t have any more weeks.

    You may be eligible for the temporary federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits or until the program expires on Dec. 26, 2020. After that, you may be eligible for Extended Benefits, which provides up to 13 or 20 weeks of benefits. It will be 20 weeks if Oregon is experiencing high unemployment. In total, during the pandemic, you potentially could receive up to 52-59 weeks of benefits (more than one year.)

  4. How can I find out if I served a ‘waiting week?’

    You can review the weeks you’ve claimed and those that have been paid on the Online Claim System. View your claim’s status on the Online Claims System and select ‘Where is my check?’

  5. What if I claimed my ‘waiting week’ before March 8, 2020?

    The waiting week is only waived from March 8, 2020, through Jan. 2, 2021. If you claimed your waiting week before March 8, you won’t receive payment for your waiting week.

  6. If I file an unemployment claim for the first time between now and Jan. 2, 2021, will I have to serve a ‘waiting week’?

    If you are newly laid off and you file an initial claim and weekly claim, your waiting week will automatically be waived before Jan. 2. If you file your claim after Jan. 2, you won’t receive payment for your ‘waiting week.’

  7. What do I need to do to receive my ‘waiting week’ payment?

    You do not need to do anything. The Employment Department is automatically processing payments for eligible waiting weeks during the waived period.

  8. When can I expect to be paid for my ‘waiting week?’

    Generally speaking, your payment should be issued within a few days, by your typical method of payment.

    If you are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Compensation (PEUC), Extended Benefits (EB), or benefits through Workshare, we will need to manually process your payment. We estimate that it may take until the end of January to receive your ‘waiting week’ payment if we need to process your benefit manually. You will not need to contact us to request your waiting week benefit, even if we need to process it manually.

  9. How much money will I receive for the ‘waiting week?’

    You will receive the same weekly amount as your regular unemployment benefit amount. However, you can’t receive more than the maximum benefit amount for your claim. For most claims, your maximum benefit amount is 26 times your weekly benefit amount.

  10. Will I receive the additional Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payment along with my ‘waiting week’ benefit?

    As long as your ‘waiting week’ falls between March 29, 2020, and July 25, 2020, and you are eligible for benefits, you will also receive the additional $600 FPUC payment. If you have used all 26 weeks of your benefits you will receive the $600 FPUC payment if you are eligible to receive benefits under one of the extensions or another program.

  11. Will I receive the additional LWA payment for my ‘waiting week?’

    If your ‘waiting week’ falls between July 26, 2020, and Sept. 5, 2020, and you have certified that you are COVID impacted, you also will receive the additional $300 as long as you are eligible for benefits.

  12. Do I get paid for the ‘waiting week’ if I have a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claim or a Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) claim?

    No. These programs do not have a ‘waiting week’. You’ve already been paid for your first eligible week.

  13. Is the ‘waiting week’ taxable?

    Yes. If we pay you benefits for your ‘waiting week,’ it’s taxable under federal and state law just like any other unemployment benefits you receive. If you have taxes withheld from your benefits, they will also be withheld from the ‘waiting week.’

  14. If I am waiting for a decision to be issued on my claim, will I be paid the ‘waiting week?’

    If a decision is pending for your waiting week period, you will have to wait for the decision to be issued. This decision will determine if you will be paid for your ‘waiting week.’

  15. If I have a denial that covers the waiting week, will I be paid?

    No. If you are denied your waiting week, you will not receive an additional payment.

  16. Will I receive the waiting week if I have the remaining penalty weeks to serve?

    No. If you have penalty weeks, you will need to serve those weeks.

  17. I have an overpayment on a claim and owe money to the Oregon Employment Department, will I still get the waiting week benefit?

    We will apply the waiting week funds to your overpayment at the appropriate rate.


  18. Will child support be withheld from the ‘waiting week’ and the $600 FPUC or $300 LWA payments?

    If you have child support withholdings, it will also be withheld from the ‘waiting week’ and $600 FPUC benefit. It will not be withheld from your $300 LWA payment.

Overpayments

  1. What is an overpayment? What are the different reasons for an overpayment?

    An overpayment means that you were paid benefits that you were not eligible for. There are many reasons for an overpayment. Some are caused by people giving us inaccurate or partial information. Others are caused by agency error, and others may be caused when a decision we made is changed on appeal, after we receive different information than we had when we made our decision.

  2. I don’t agree with the overpayment decision. What can I do?

    We know this is incredibly stressful for people receiving these decisions. We want to minimize any stress and the impact of any overpayments. If we find that our denial decision was in error, or if you are able to provide additional information that shows you are actually eligible for benefits, we want you to retain the benefits.

    Federal law requires that if we decide that you do not meet the legal requirements for benefits, we must tell you that you have been overpaid and give you an opportunity to dispute our decision. You can challenge our decision about the amount you owe by requesting a hearing in front of an independent administrative law judge.


  3. What is the process of repaying benefits?

    When there are overpayments, we have a legal obligation to try to recover them. If the overpayment was not caused by you, we normally ‘offset’ that debt by having you pay back the overpayment by deducting money owed from future benefits. For other types of overpayments, other collection tools are available. We typically set up payment plans that have the least financial impact on you. During this pandemic, we are taking advantage of flexibility options and are drastically minimizing our collection of overpayments.

  4. What if I cannot afford to pay back the unemployment benefit I received, but was not eligible for?

    We understand that you may not be able to pay us back immediately. We know many Oregonians are in a difficult situation, and the last thing we want to do is ask you to repay the benefits you believed you were eligible for.

    During this pandemic, we are taking advantage of options available to us. We are reducing our collection of non-claimant fault overpayments for six months by not having funds deducted from future benefits to pay the money you owe. If it is still a financial hardship for you to repay those benefits after six months, you can ask for an additional six-month waiver. By Oregon statute, if we haven’t received payment after five years, we will cancel the debt.

    For other types of overpayments, we’ve drastically scaled back recovery efforts because of the financial hardship so many Oregonians are facing. We’ll continue monitoring the pandemic and resulting economic recession to best decide how to help you.

    Note: If by mistake we have reduced part of your benefit to pay back the money you owe us, we will reissue your benefits for that week. If your claim’s status doesn’t show that your benefits have been reissued to you after five days, please use the Contact Us form to notify us. Write “Overpayments” in the “Issue Description” box on the form.

  5. How do you figure out how much I have to pay back each week or month?

    We will develop a payment plan with each individual based on the circumstance and type of overpayment.

  6. Can I ask to pay a smaller amount than what the department proposes?

    Yes, you may make that request. We will need to agree to the lower repayment amount.

  7. How do I apply for a waiver?

    Request a waiver by calling 503-947-1995 or use the Contact Us form. Please write “Overpayments" in the “Issue Description” box on the form.

Restarting Your Unemployment Claim

  1. How to Restart Your Unemployment Claim

    With increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Oregon, and a state-wide two-week freeze, some Oregonians who have gone back to work may be laid off again. Below is information to help you restart your claim and/or move to new benefit programs. Find a step by step guide to restarting your claim here.

  2. Why would a person’s claim be stopped by the Oregon Employment Department?

    There are four reasons a person’s claim is stopped. You:

    1. Skip a week or more of filing your weekly claim
    2. Earn your weekly benefit amount or more
    3. Work full-time.
    4. Report no earnings after a week that you reported earnings


  3. Is there a waiting week if I restart my claim?

    No, if you have previously served your waiting week then there is not a waiting week when you restart your claim. If you are newly laid off, your waiting week will automatically be waived and you will be paid for it. If you file your initial claim after Jan. 2, you will not receive payment for your ‘waiting week.’

  4. How will I know if I need to restart my claim?

    We will let you know through the Online Claim System or by letter if you need to restart your claim.

  5. What information do you need from me to restart a claim?

    To restart a claim, you will need to have your employer information ready when you call. This includes the dates you worked; the names, phone numbers, and addresses of your employer(s); and your gross earnings from those employers. Once you have restarted your claim, you still must file for benefits every week. Find a step by step guide to restarting your claim here.

  6. If you have been laid off again and need to restart your Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), or Extended Benefits (EB) claim, you can restart your previous claim.

    Restart your claim through our Online Claim System if either of these is true for you:

    - Missed a week or more of filing weekly claims.

    OR

    - Are now unemployed after a period of work.

    Select “Restart Your Claim,” from the Online Claim System to restart your claim.

    Still having difficulties? Complete our Contact Us form for more help. Click the ‘Contact’ option located at the top right corner of our website Make sure you select and fill out the ‘Restarting my claim’ option located under ‘How Can We Help?’ section.

    You may also call us at 1-877-FILE-4-UI (1-877-345-3484) for assistance.


    Note: The PEUC program ends Dec. 26, 2020. If you are receiving PEUC funds at that time, we automatically will move you to Extended Benefits if you qualify. If you don’t qualify for EB, we will send you a letter. Right now, EB extends benefits for an additional 20 weeks.

  7. If you have been laid off again and you had been receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) go to the online PUA portal and claim your weekly benefits.

    To restart your PUA claim, just start submitting your weekly PUA claims again. Please select “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)” from the Online Claim System and submit your weekly PUA claim for each week you are requesting benefits. Please use the Contact Us web form if you do not receive payment after 5 days.

  8. I returned to work before I needed to apply for PEUC. My claim is at a $0 balance. What do I do now?

    You will need to complete an online application for the PEUC program with our Online Claim System. Click option #4 to file your initial PEUC claim. We have instructions and video references to help you with this process.

CARES Act

  1. What is the CARES Act and how can it help me?

    The CARES Act is a new federal law, signed March 27, 2020. It makes it so more people can get unemployment benefits than ever before. Especially people affected by COVID-19. This new law did three main things:

    1. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Self-employed people and others who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits—and who are out of work due to COVID-19—can now get PUA, a new unemployment benefits program (ends December 26, 2020)
    2. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). Everyone getting any type of unemployment benefits gets an extra $600/week (for each eligible week from March 29, 2020 - July 25, 2020)
    3. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). If your regular unemployment benefits run out, you may be able to get extended benefits for up to 13 more weeks (ends December 26, 2020)

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  1. What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?

    PUA is a new unemployment benefits program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was created through the March 27, 2020 federal CARES Act. It gives unemployment benefits to workers who are out of work due to COVID-19 and not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

    File a claim.

  2. Who is eligible for PUA?

    PUA provides unemployment benefits to workers who have never before been eligible for benefits. To qualify, you must be:

    • Out of work due to COVID-19, and
    • Not eligible for any other unemployment benefits. This includes:
      • Self-employed people
      • Independent contractors
      • Some gig workers (gig workers whose employers are not required to pay payroll taxes on their wages)
      • Employees whose wages are not reported for unemployment insurance, like some agricultural workers
      • Employees who have not earned enough wages or worked enough hours for regular unemployment benefits
      • Employees who ran out of regular unemployment benefits, and are not eligible for another extension
      • People who were going to start work but could not, due to a COVID-19 situation

    File a claim.

  3. What does “out of work due to COVID-19” mean?

    Federal law requires that to get PUA benefits each week, you have to be unemployed directly because of one of the reasons listed in the CARES Act. These are:

    • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Or, you have symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking a medical diagnosis.
    • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • You are caring for a family member or a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Your child can’t go to school because their school is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, and you need your child to be in school for you to work.
    • A person in your household for whom you have primary caregiving responsibility can’t go to a facility for care because the facility is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, and you need them to be in facility care for you to work.
    • You can’t get to your workplace because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
    • You can’t get to your workplace because a health care provider has advised you to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
    • You were going to start a job but you can’t start it or can’t get to it as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
    • You have become the main income earner for your household because the head of your household died as a direct result of COVID-19.
    • You had to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19.
    • Your workplace is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  4. How do I apply for PUA? How do I submit a claim for PUA?

    Online using the online form. The best way to apply is by filing an initial PUA claim through our Online Claim System using the online form. You will get paid fastest if you file through the new online form.

    By phone. If you cannot apply online, you can apply over the phone. Free interpretation is provided.
    Toll free PUA hotline: 1-833-410-1004
    Local PUA hotline: 1-503-370-5400

    By mail. You can mail your PUA application and weekly claim reports to the Oregon Employment Department at P.O. Box 14165, Salem, OR 97311.

    By fax. You can fax your PUA application and weekly claim reports to 503-371-2893.

  5. Do I have to file a claim each week?

    Yes. A weekly claim is how we figure out how much money to send you for that week. A week is Sunday through Saturday. You can’t submit a weekly claim until the week is over.

    To keep getting benefits, you need to file a new weekly claim every week. If you don’t file a claim every week, we will think it’s because you are back at work. File a weekly claim even if you worked that week. Otherwise, you may have to restart your claim later. Sometimes restarting a claim means you will have to speak with one of our claims specialists. Currently there is high call volume on our hotline.

    File your weekly claims even if you don’t know if your application has been approved yet. It can take at least six weeks for us to process your application. If your application is approved, we will send you money for all the past weeks you were eligible for, as long as you filed your weekly claims.

    File a claim.

  6. How do I file a weekly PUA claim? I heard I have to do it online and over the phone--is that true?

    That is not correct--you do not have to file your weekly claim over the phone. You only have to file your weekly claim one time each week. You should file your weekly claim online through our Online Claim System. Unless you need language or other help, you do not need to call us to file a weekly claim.

  7. Why is it taking so long to get approved?

    PUA is a new program that allows us to pay claims to people who have never been eligible for benefits before. This means we needed to create brand new processes and forms, in addition to making programming changes.

    PUA also requires handling new kinds of information that wasn’t typically handled before at the Employment Department. It took until late April to put the beginnings of these processes in place, so it was not even possible to start receiving and trying to process claims until that time.

    Getting PUA up and running has been a huge challenge for all states, not just Oregon. We knew it would take thousands of hours of coding to add PUA to our computer system. So we started by working around our computer constraints: we created paper and PDF applications. This way, we were able to get thousands of paper and PDF applications on hand and processing well before we were able to get the technology moving.

    We’re working on getting our computer system to process claims more. But right now, processing PUA claims is still very manual.

    Finally, more than 100,000 people have applied for PUA benefits. It simply takes time to review all of the claims. We are hiring and training more people to process claims, and working to process claims faster every week.

  8. How long will PUA last? And how far back can I get PUA benefits?

    PUA benefits may last for up to 46 weeks if you are eligible and out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program started the week of February 2, 2020 and goes through the week ending December 26, 2020. This does not mean you will automatically get PUA for every week from February through December. You still need to apply and file weekly claims, and be eligible.

    Benefits are retroactive. In other words, you will get benefit payments or “back pay” for all past weeks you were eligible for, once your claim is processed. This means that you can get benefits all the way back to the week you first lost work (but not farther back than February 2, 2020), even if you didn’t apply for PUA until later. To get benefits for past weeks, just list on your initial claim all the weeks you have been affected, and how much (if anything) you earned for each of those weeks. When we process your PUA claim, you will get benefits for all eligible weeks. You will also retroactively get the extra $600 per week in FPUC benefits for each week you were eligible for PUA (this only applies from March 29 through July 25). You may get several payments at once.

  9. How much will I get in PUA benefits? How do you decide how much I get?

    The minimum PUA benefit is $205 per week. You will get at least that much if you are eligible. The maximum is $648 per week. Your weekly benefit amount is 1.25 percent of your earnings over the last 12 months. It is net earnings (earnings minus expenses) for self-employed workers, but gross earnings (total earnings) for other workers.

    To get more than $205 per week, you must have earned more than $16,480 in the 2019 tax year. You have to provide proof of income for your most recently completed tax year (2019 for most people). See our PUA Income Documentation Guide to learn more about acceptable documentation.

    You can use the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Benefit Calculator (also called form 196PUA) to estimate how much you may be eligible to get.

    If you get PUA benefits, you will also get an extra $600 per week because of the CARES Act. This extra $600 per week is called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). It is only available March 29, 2020 through July 25, 2020. This does not mean you will automatically get the extra $600 for every one of those weeks. You will only get it for the weeks you are also eligible for PUA.

    It can take at least six weeks for us to process your PUA application. If your application is approved, we will send you $205 (or more) per week in PUA benefits plus the extra $600 per week for all the past weeks you were eligible. You may get several checks at once.

  10. Do you calculate my PUA benefit based on gross earnings or net earnings?

    We have asked the U.S. Department of Labor to provide more guidance on this because states are doing it differently. Check back for additional guidance.

    Until we receive further guidance, if you are self-employed, federal law requires that we use net earnings (income minus expenses) from 2019 to figure out what your maximum weekly benefit amount could be. It requires that we use “gross earnings” to figure out how much to actually send you for any particular week. "Gross earnings" is the amount you report on your weekly PUA claim.

    Update 8/5/20:
    On August 5, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued new guidance on how states can define "gross earnings" for weekly Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims. The Oregon Employment Department is now defining “gross earnings” as: gross receipts received during the week (total amount that came into the business) minus 25% of the prior month’s expenses. (Read the announcement here.) Expenses include things like business rent, utilities, product materials, and office supplies.

    For example: Your week’s gross receipts are $1,000. Last month’s expenses were $4,000. And 25% of $4,000 = $1,000. Your “gross earnings” for that week would be $1,000 in gross receipts - $1,000 in 25% of the prior month’s expenses = $0. So you would report $0 for your “gross earnings” on your weekly PUA claim form. You would get your maximum weekly benefit amount (as long as your business is still being impacted by a COVID-19 reason), even with $1,000 in total earnings. Before the new definition of “gross earnings,” you would have had to report $1,000 on your weekly PUA claim form, and would not have gotten benefits for that week.

    Your benefit amount might go down or in some cases might be $0, depending on what your “gross earnings” were that week. If your “gross earnings” is a negative number, you should report $0. Do not put a negative number.

    You should file your weekly claims using this new formula for “gross earnings” moving forward. This guidance from the Department of Labor is also retroactive. That means it affects past weeks of claims, so you might qualify for a higher weekly benefit amount for weeks you already claimed.

    If you are self-employed and want to request a higher weekly benefit payment, you can report up to 20 weeks of updated “gross earnings” by visiting the PUA Updated Gross Earnings page. It will take us up to six weeks to complete the “gross earnings” review. We will notify you by email when your review is complete. If you qualify for any adjustments, you should get your payments within one week of the completion of the review.

    Getting higher weekly PUA benefit payments only applies to you if:

    • You are self-employed (you do not get W-2 tax forms),
    • You qualify for PUA,
    • You submitted weekly PUA claims using the old definition of “gross earnings,” which was simply total earnings for that week, and
    • Your updated “gross earnings” are lower than your maximum weekly benefit amount (not including the $600 FPUC benefits).
  11. Am I also eligible for the extra $600 a week while on PUA?

    If you are eligible for PUA, you are also eligible for the additional $600 per week. This is part of the new CARES Act, and it’s called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). You don’t have to take any action to get it. If you are eligible for PUA in a given week, we will automatically send you the extra $600 that week too. If you are not eligible for PUA in a particular week, you will not get the $600 payment that week. FPUC is only available for March 29, 2020 through July 25, 2020.

  12. What documents do I need to prove my previous income?

    If you are eligible for PUA, you will get the minimum amount of $205 per week even without proof of income. However, you should still gather and keep your documentation in case your claim is audited.

    If you want more than $205 per week, you will need to send us proof of your earnings (see our PUA Income Documentation Guide) for your most recently completed tax year, such as:

    • Form 1065 AND K-1 or W-2
    • Form 1040 or 1040-RS AND Schedule C
    • Form 1120s AND K-1 or W-2

    To decide your benefit amount, we need to know your total earnings over the last 12 months. We count earnings from employment and self-employment. In order for us to make these calculations, you have to provide proof of your net earnings from your self-employment for your most recently completed tax year.

    PUA claims are subject to audit, including random audits. During those audits we may request proof of earnings from employment or self-employment. We will accept various forms of proof during this process. We may also ask for proof of your qualifying situation.

    Failing to provide accurate information on the self-certification will result in a denial of the current and future PUA benefits. You will be required to pay back any benefits paid, and you may face federal criminal prosecution.

  13. Why am I only getting the minimum $205 per week when I proved that I qualify for more?

    We are focused on getting as many people their PUA benefits as soon as possible. That means we are starting with sending the minimum $205 payment in most cases. Getting a PUA payment means people can start getting the extra $600 per week FPUC payment as well.

    We will then go back and review claims where people sent in documents to get higher PUA benefits. If you qualify for higher benefits, we will send them to you for all the past weeks you were eligible for. We are already doing this work, and we are paying some people more than the minimum amount.

    But right now, our priority is to get more people receiving at least the minimum benefits.

  14. What is the difference between the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and regular unemployment benefits?

    The difference is in who qualifies. And that is related to how the programs are funded. PUA is funded by the federal government. Regular unemployment benefits are funded by payroll taxes that employers pay. With the COVID-19 pandemic, that left out self-employed people, contract workers, some gig workers, and others. So the federal government created PUA to help these workers pay their expenses during the pandemic.

  15. If I get a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) payment from my employer, do I need to report it as earnings?

    If your employer sends you a PPP payment for past weeks that you have already filed weekly claims for, that is considered back pay and you do not need to report it. If you get PPP for a week you have not yet claimed, you do need to report it to us in the week you get it.

  16. Can I choose to stay on PUA if I qualify for a new claim but that weekly benefit amount is lower?

    No. You are not eligible for PUA if you have regular benefits available regardless of the weekly benefit amount.

  17. Why did my weekly benefit amount change?

    Every quarter, we are required to review your PUA claim to see if you are eligible for regular UI benefits. If you are eligible for regular UI benefits, we will move your claim over and your weekly benefit amount will be based on that claim. Sometimes your weekly benefit amount will go down.

    This year’s quarter change dates for weekly benefits are: March 29, 2020; June 28, 2020; and October 4, 2020.

  18. I am receiving regular UI benefits. Do I also qualify for PUA benefits?

    No. PUA is only available for those who otherwise do not qualify for a regular unemployment claim or who have run out of other forms of regular and extended unemployment insurance benefits they could get.

  19. I have run out of UI benefits on my regular claim. Am I eligible for PUA?

    You may be eligible for PUA benefits if you do not qualify for, or have run out of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and any other extension that is currently available.

  20. If I have wages in another state, can I stay on PUA in Oregon instead of filing a claim in another state?

    No. PUA is only available if you have no other possible claims for regular unemployment benefits in any state or in Canada.

  21. I am a gig worker. Am I eligible for PUA?

    If you are a gig worker whose employer is supposed to pay payroll taxes on your wages, then you are actually an employee, and should apply for regular unemployment benefits.

    If you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or a gig worker whose employer is not required to pay payroll taxes on your wages, apply for PUA.

    If you apply for regular UI and you’re actually eligible for PUA, we’ll let you know and you’ll need to file a separate PUA claim. And if you apply for PUA but you’re actually eligible for regular UI, we can move your application over.

  22. I was self-employed and had to stop my work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Am I eligible for PUA?

    You may be eligible for PUA if you are out of work as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, and:

    • You do not qualify for a regular unemployment claim, and
    • You do not qualify for, or have run out of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) or another extension that is currently available.
  23. I am self-employed and still operating, but my business has significantly slowed because of COVID-19. Am I eligible for PUA?

    You may be eligible for PUA. If you are getting insurance payments for your business, or you receive payment to your business for work performed in other weeks, please report those on your weekly claims. While you may still be eligible, any business income can impact how much you are eligible to get through PUA.

  24. I am receiving other types of payment or financial assistance. Am I eligible for PUA?

    It depends. You must report on your weekly claims if:

    • An employer is paying you
    • You are getting insurance payments for your business
    • You receive payment to your business for work performed in other weeks

    While you may still be eligible, these types of income or payments can impact how much you are eligible to get under PUA.

  25. I have a regular claim, but I am serving penalty weeks. Am I eligible for PUA?

    Yes, if you are also out of work due to COVID-19. You may be eligible for PUA if:

    • You are unable to get benefits from your regular claim due to a disqualification that prevents payment (like penalty weeks), and
    • You are out of work or unable or unavailable for work due to one of the COVID-19 related reasons.

    You should apply for PUA, and we will check if you are eligible. Any week you get PUA benefits will not count as serving one of your penalty weeks for regular benefits. Each week, you can choose to get PUA benefits or you can choose to give back regular benefits for your penalty week. If you get PUA, you will still owe your penalty weeks for your regular benefits later.

  26. I have a regular UI claim, but I was denied benefits because of my prior job loss circumstances. Am I eligible for PUA?

    You may be eligible for PUA if:

    • You are unable to get benefits from your regular claim due to a disqualification that prevents you from getting payment, AND
    • You are out of work or unable or unavailable for work due to one of the COVID-19 related reasons.

    You should apply for PUA, and we will check if you are eligible.

  27. I just started my first job in January 2020, and am now out of work because of COVID-19. Am I eligible for PUA?

    If you were working when the COVID-19 public health emergency was declared on March 8, 2020, you may be eligible for PUA. You must meet all the eligibility criteria outlined in federal guidelines.

  28. I am able to telework. Can I collect benefits under PUA?

    PUA is generally not payable to people who can telework with pay for the same hours you would have been working if you were not teleworking.

  29. My employer is open, but I am on paid leave. Am I eligible for PUA?

    PUA is generally not payable to people who are getting paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits.

  30. My employer is closed and paying me during my layoff. Am I eligible for PUA?

    PUA is generally not payable to people who are getting paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits.

  31. I had to quit my job as a direct result of COVID-19. Am I eligible for PUA?

    You may be eligible if you are out of work due to COVID-19 and not eligible for any other unemployment insurance benefits. Take our Eligibility Quiz to figure out which unemployment benefits program you may qualify for.

  32. I was fired from my job as a direct result of COVID-19. Am I eligible for PUA?

    You may be eligible if you are out of work due to COVID-19 and not eligible for any other unemployment insurance benefits. Take our Eligibility Quiz to figure out which unemployment benefits program you may qualify for.

  33. I have never worked before. Am I eligible for PUA?

    PUA is generally not payable to people who have not previously worked. However, you may be eligible if you were scheduled to start a new job that did not start or that you could no longer get to as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

  34. I have a job and I do gigs or contract work on the side. I lost my gigs/contract work because of COVID-19, but still have my job. Can I get PUA benefits for the gigs I lost?

    If you still have your primary job and are fully employed, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits of any kind, including PUA.

  35. I have two jobs – one W-2 payroll job for an employer and a 1099 self-employed job on the side. I’ve lost work in both due to COVID-19 closures. Which benefits should I apply for? Can I choose PUA because it has the higher weekly minimum or $205?

    Which benefits you should apply for depends on your work history. If you earned enough at your W-2 job to get regular UI benefits, you have to apply for regular UI. If you are eligible for regular unemployment benefits, then by federal law you are not eligible for PUA. Unfortunately, you can’t choose PUA over regular UI. You can only get PUA if you are not eligible for any regular unemployment benefits. Take our Eligibility Quiz to help you figure out which benefits to apply for.

  36. I am working reduced hours. Am I eligible for PUA?

    If your hours have been cut, you may be eligible for PUA if:

    • You do not qualify for a regular unemployment claim (including Work Share), or
    • You do not qualify for, or have run out of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and any other benefit extensions,
    • And you are working less than 40 hours and earning less than your weekly benefit amount.

    If your hours have been cut, you may be eligible for Work Share if your employer participates in that program. Work Share is an unemployment benefits program that partly replaces your income for the hours that were cut. Ask your employer if they are participating in Work Share, or would consider applying. Employers can learn about Work Share here.

    For Work Share, your employer fills out most of the paperwork. You would only need to fill out a two-page initial claim form. You don’t have to look for work or file weekly claims to get Work Share benefits. If you have other employment, you do have to report any income from that employment.

  37. My employer has remained open because it is essential, or has re-opened under public health guidelines. I’m not sick and no one in my household is sick. I do not provide primary care for anyone. I am not in a vulnerable population and have not been advised by a health provider to self-quarantine. I am afraid of getting coronavirus from customers coming to the store. I quit and filed for unemployment. Can I receive benefits under the CARES Act?

    No. Under the CARES Act, you may be eligible for benefits only if you meet one of the reasons for being out of work listed in the act, but none include what you just described. Unfortunately, quitting due to fear of getting COVID-19 counts as voluntarily quitting, not having to quit. Only people who had to quit can get benefits under the CARES Act.

  38. If I am ineligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, but I think I am eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits, does OED automatically move my claim to PUA or do I need to file a new claim?

    No, OED doesn’t automatically move an initial UI claim to PUA. Federal law requires that you apply for PUA benefits, so you will need to file a separate PUA claim through our Online Claim System.

  39. I filed my initial PUA application when the weekly PUA certification claim form was not yet posted. I filed weekly claims for regular unemployment insurance instead. I didn’t know about the weekly PUA form until weeks later. Do I now have to file a weekly PUA claim for all those past weeks?

    If you have applied for PUA benefits, you should file your weekly claims through the PUA system, not the regular UI system. If you have already filed some weeks in the regular UI system, we will move those over when we start your initial PUA claim. If you have not yet filed your weekly claims in either system, file for those weeks in the PUA system. You have to file a weekly claim if you want to get benefits for that week.

  40. What does “claim restart” mean?

    It usually means that you missed a week of claiming benefits. To keep getting benefits, you need to file a new weekly claim every week. File a weekly claim even if you worked that week. Having some earnings does not require a brand new initial application for PUA benefits. You would just report those earnings on your weekly claim.

    In some cases, you can restart your claim online. In other cases, you will need to speak with one of our claims specialists.

    If you applied for the PUA program, you currently can’t restart your claim using the Online Claim System. To restart your claim, please send us a message using our Contact Us form—pick the “Restarting my claim” option. Or call our PUA line at 1-833-410-1004. Please note that due to the increased call volumes, there are extended wait times.

  41. My PUA payments stopped coming. What happened?

    One reason is that our staff have to review each weekly PUA claim, and we are getting a high volume of claims. We are hiring more and training more staff to help process these claims.

    Another reason your PUA payments may have stopped is if you answered a question on your weekly claim that caused your claim to be paused. For example, a common reason for claims getting paused right now is when a person says they are unable to work because they are caring for a child whose school is closed. Since all schools are now closed for summer break, federal law says this no longer is enough to make you eligible for PUA benefits for the week. But if you can’t work because you’re caring for a child whose summer camp or day care facility is closed, that is still a valid reason.

    A paused claim requires a claims specialist to talk to you before the claim can be processed.

  42. I got a letter saying there was a problem with my claim. It didn’t say what the problem was, or what I should do. Why not? What can I do?

    These notices are coded into our mainframe computer system. Changing them will take hundreds of hours of coding. Right now we have the people who could do that coding focused on making sure our system can support everyone getting their benefits. We will have to wait to change the notices.

    If you got a letter saying there was a problem with your claim, call the PUA hotline at:
    Toll free: 1-833-410-1004
    Local: 1-503-370-5400

  43. I got a letter saying I am eligible for PUA. But every week I also get a letter saying that I haven't been paid due to a question about my self-employment. What can I do?

    We are required to make sure people are eligible for benefits, and for what program. Sometimes this means follow-up questions. We are calling people directly to follow up on issues with their PUA claims.

    Also, many people applied for benefits under both UI and PUA, and are getting letters related to both claims, which can be confusing. For instance, the self-employment questions might be related to a regular UI claim, and not your PUA application.

  44. Who is handling PUA claims? I heard it was the tax department.

    A dedicated team of Employment Department claims experts is handling most of the PUA claims. Because of the interplay between PUA and regular UI, there are some types of issues, on some claims, that are being handled by other groups. For example, we do have some employees from the UI Tax section addressing issues around whether someone’s work is “employment” or counts as an independent contractor under Oregon law. This is specialized work, and work those UI Tax employees normally do, so we have them focusing on those issues to be able to resolve more of them more quickly.

  45. Do Uber and Lyft drivers qualify for PUA?

    Unfortunately, we are not allowed to share information about specific employers or businesses. Generally, employees may qualify for regular unemployment benefits, and independent contractors now may qualify for PUA. We are required to determine if someone was an employee or independent contractor under state law.

    If you are a gig worker whose employer is supposed to pay payroll taxes on your wages, then you are actually an employee, and should apply for regular unemployment benefits. If you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or a gig worker whose employer is not required to pay payroll taxes on your wages, apply for PUA.

    Take our Eligibility Quiz to figure out which program you should apply for.

    Update:
    We have received lots of questions about whether someone who does “gig work” should apply for regular unemployment insurance or the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. It depends on a number of factors, and there are strict confidentiality laws that prevent the Employment Department from talking about individual claims or businesses. We know this is creating more anxiety for people, and it is making it harder for us to get people their benefits as quickly. Each person’s case has to be individually examined. If you do apply for a program you are not eligible for, we will work with you to get you into the correct program.

    Gig work using the Lyft app.
    Lyft maintains that it does not employ the drivers who use its app and instead that drivers operate as self-employed independent contractors who use its technology. However, to help drivers get unemployment assistance as quickly as possible, OED is directing drivers to apply for unemployment assistance here. We want to be clear that Lyft disagrees with this direction, but the only purpose of this information is to help guide applicants more quickly to the program they likely need to file under in order to comply with the OED's request. Despite disagreeing with this approach, we appreciate Lyft letting us share this information so that users of the platform can obtain assistance more quickly.

  46. Why are claims not processed in the order they are received?

    We started processing paper and PDF applications before the computer system was in place, so that we could get benefits out fastest. Because of that, it was hard to organize them in the order they were received.

    Also, some claims are simple and can be processed quickly, allowing those people to get their benefits. Others are complex and take much more time. We do not want to hold up the simple claims, so we are processing them as we also work through the complex claims.

  47. Are certain people, or groups, getting preferential treatment?

    No. We are prioritizing, to the best of our ability, people who have been waiting the longest. As we enter paper and PDF claims into the computer, we can tell who has been waiting the longest. And simple claims get approved much more quickly than complex claims.

  48. How are complicated claims handled?

    Complicated claims are referred to claims specialists with the appropriate training and experience to process them.

  49. Do I need to create a new account to use the PUA online form?

    If you already have a PIN for the Online Claim System, use your same login to access the PUA online form.

  50. Should I resubmit my initial claim using the PUA online form if I haven’t been paid yet?

    No. Your initial claim (your application) will be reviewed by our PUA specialists regardless of how it was filed. Resubmitting your initial claim using the new online form will not speed up the process.

  51. How do I sign in to the PUA online form?

    In the Online Claim System, click on “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” and select “Yes” when it asks if you would like to use the new PUA online system (the form). If you already have a login for the Online Claim System, use the same login credentials. Use the Sign Up link only if you have not used the Online Claim System before.

  52. I filled out my PUA application using the online form. Will I receive a confirmation email?

    Yes. You will receive a confirmation email within a day of submitting your application. We are working to include a confirmation number in the email that confirms the receipt of your application.

  53. When I try to log in I get an invalid log in. Should I create a new account?

    Yes, you should try to create a new account. If you have previously created an account in the new system and are now receiving the invalid log in message, go to our Online Claim System. Select “Status of Your Claim and Weekly Reports.”

    You may be asked to create a new PIN. After creating a new PIN, wait at least one hour before logging into the new system with your SSN and the new PIN you created.

    Only customers who have set up their security questions can reset their PIN online. Most PUA customers have not done this so they must contact us. If you are not asked to create a new PIN and cannot login, please contact our WorkSource office, PUA Contact Center at 503-370-5400, use our new Contact Us online form, or use the Online Claim System to reset your PIN.

    Find instructions for resetting your PIN on our step-by-step guides page.

  54. I received an invalid login screen and created a new account. How will that impact my claim?

    Creating a new account will not affect your existing or pending PUA claim. All information entered will be transferred to the new system and attached to your PUA claim.

  55. My credentials worked on the Online Claim System but aren’t working on the new PUA form. What do I do?

    The same credentials that work in our Online Claim System work in the new form. When we first launched, there were some bugs in the system that caused errors. If these continue, please let us know by using our new Contact Us online form.

    When our staff take certain actions on a PUA claim, it will cause the PIN number to reset. In these cases, you will need to go to our Online Claim System and select “Your Claim and Weekly Reports.” You most likely will be asked to establish a new PIN. Wait at least one hour after creating the new PIN before login into the new system using your SSN and the PIN created.

    Find instructions for resetting your PIN on our step-by-step guides page.

    Only customers who have set up their security questions can reset their PIN online. Most PUA customers have not done this so they must contact us. If you cannot reset your PIN online or are experiencing continued trouble with your PIN, please contact our WorkSource office, PUA Contact Center at 503-370-5400, use our new Contact Us online form to reset your PIN.

  56. I submitted my PUA application using the online form on Friday, and it’s still not showing up in the Online Claim System. When should I expect to see it there?

    Your PUA initial application will not show in our system until it has been processed. Processing occurs overnight and takes one business day. If you submit an initial application on a Friday, it will show up on Saturday or Tuesday, depending on the time of day you submit it.

  57. What is the process after my weekly PUA claim is submitted?

    Most weekly claims will process automatically. If there is information that raises a potential issue, it will be flagged for our employees to review. Depending on what the potential issue is, it may be resolved by reviewing the claim status or we may need to reach out to you to get additional information. Please continue to claim each week if you see a message that says we have not processed your claim yet. Once your initial claim is processed, your weekly claims should begin paying.

  58. When will I see the money on my ReliaCard®?

    If you file your PUA weekly claim on Sunday, your claim will be processed Monday night, the payment will be queued up on Tuesday, and it will appear on your card on Wednesday.

    It typically takes 3 business days, excluding holidays, for your payment to show up on your ReliaCard®

Extra $600/week (FPUC)

  1. What is Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)?

    FPUC is an extra $600 per week you will get if you are getting unemployment benefits that week. It was created as part of the federal CARES Act. FPUC is only available during the 17 weeks starting March 29, 2020 and ending July 25, 2020. This does not mean you will automatically get the extra $600 for every one of those weeks. You will only get it for the weeks you are also getting some other type of unemployment benefits.

  2. What do I need to do to get the extra $600 per week?

    You need to apply for unemployment benefits first, either regular benefits or the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Take our Eligibility Quiz to figure out which one to apply for. You will only get the extra $600 for weeks you are eligible for some type of other unemployment benefits. This includes regular unemployment benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, Work Share, Self Employment Assistance, Extended Benefits, and others.

    If you filed your weekly unemployment benefits claim and are eligible for benefits that week, you do not need to do anything else. We will automatically send you the extra $600 payment each week you are eligible for it.

  3. When can I expect to see the extra $600 in my account?

    It can take at least four weeks for us to process your unemployment application. Benefits are retroactive. In other words, you will get benefit payments or “back pay” for all past weeks you were eligible for. This includes the extra $600 per week of FPUC benefits.

    For any weeks you were eligible for any type of unemployment benefits (regular, PUA, or extended), you will get benefit payments once your claim is processed. If you were eligible for any type of benefits during the time period FPUC is available (March 29 - July 25), you will get the extra $600 per week for those weeks once your claim is processed. You may get several payments at once.

  4. Can I get the extra $600 per week if I am self-employed, a contract worker, or a gig worker?

    Yes, if you are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). For each week you get PUA benefits (between March 29 and July 25, 2020), we will also automatically send you the extra $600.

  5. Why am I not getting the full $600 for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)?

    The additional $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payment is taxable income. If you choose to have state and/or federal taxes withheld from your unemployment benefits, those taxes will be taken out of the $600 payment before we send it to you. In addition, if you have child support obligations, those funds must also be taken out of the additional $600 FPUC payment before we send it to you.

    For Example:

    1) You have both state and federal taxes withheld from your unemployment benefits. Oregon’s tax withholding is 6%, and the federal tax withholding is 10%. You can expect your $600 FPUC payment to be reduced by a total of 16%, which would leave you with $504.

    2) You have only state taxes withheld from your unemployment benefits. The $600 FPUC payment would be reduced by 6%, leaving you with $564.

    3) You have only federal taxes withheld from your unemployment benefits. The $600 FPUC payment would be reduced by 10%, leaving you with $540.

  6. Why did I not receive my full benefit payment?

    If you owe money to the Oregon Employment Department because you were overpaid benefits, your current benefits will be reduced to pay back the amount owed. This includes 100% of your weekly benefits and up to 50% of your $600 weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payment. Once your overpayment balance is zero, you will receive your full benefits again.

    For Example: You have an overpayment of $1,000. Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) is $200 and you are receiving the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payment.

    When you claim your week of benefits, all of your $200 WBA and $300 of your FPUC payment will be used to pay back the money you owe. The maximum you would receive for that week would be $300. Your benefits will be reduced each week until your overpayment balance is zero. After that, you will receive your full weekly benefit.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

  1. What is Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)?

    Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is for people who have run out of their regular unemployment benefits. It allows up to 13 more weeks of benefits.

  2. Am I eligible for PEUC?

    If your current claim has a $0 balance or you have an expired claim, you may be eligible for PEUC. There are two ways to be eligible:

    • Option 1:
      • Your regular claim balance is $0,
      • Your claim has not yet expired, and
      • You do not have a regular claim available in another state, Canada, or through another federal program.
    • Option 2:
      • Your last valid regular claim expired after June 29, 2019, and
      • You do not have a regular claim available in Oregon, another state, Canada, or through another federal program.
  3. How and when can I apply for PEUC?

    We cannot accept your application for PEUC until you have run out of regular unemployment benefits, or unless your claim is expired. There are several ways to apply for PEUC:

    • Online Claim System. If:
      • You have run out of your regular unemployment benefits,
      • Your claim has run out of benefits but a full year hasn’t passed, and
      • You file weekly using our Online Claims System,

    Continue to claim weekly like normal. You will see an option to file for PEUC when you submit your weekly claim and your balance is $0. If you select this option, you will automatically go into the PEUC program. Make sure you continue filing a claim for benefits each week.

    • Secure Upload. If your claim for regular unemployment benefits has already expired and you are eligible for PEUC, we will send you a letter. The letter will let you know how to fill out the PUEC application and how to restart your claim. You can apply by filling out the PDF application and using the secure upload to submit it. You do not have to wait to get our letter to apply. The PDF of the PEUC weekly application can be found here.
    • Mail. If you are eligible for PEUC but cannot access our online systems, you can mail your application. The application is available through our Online Claim System or by calling 503-947-1563 and leaving a message asking for an application. The completed application can be faxed to 866-345-1878.
    • Call 1-877-FILE-4-UI (1-877-345-3484) and someone can help you file in any language.
  4. How long will PEUC last?

    You can get up to 13 weeks of PEUC benefits. These extended benefits are available for the weeks between March 29, 2020 and December 26, 2020. You still have to file a weekly claim to get benefits each week, just like you did for regular UI.

  5. How much will I receive in PEUC benefits?

    PEUC is the same weekly amount as your regular unemployment benefit amount. For all eligible weeks (between March 29, 2020 and July 25, 2020), you’ll also get the extra $600 payments.

  6. I am getting regular unemployment benefits. Can I also get PEUC?

    No. PEUC is only available for those who have run out of regular benefits.

  7. Can I get PEUC benefits for weeks that have already passed?

    Yes. If you were eligible for PEUC for weeks that have already passed, your benefits will be paid for each week back to the first week you became eligible. You can get up to 13 weeks of PEUC from March 29, 2020 through December 26, 2020. If you have not been filing weekly claims during this time, please submit them, along with your PEUC application. Weekly claims can be found through our Online Claim System.

  8. Am I also eligible for the extra $600 a week if I’m getting PEUC?

    If you are eligible for PEUC, you will also get the extra $600 per week, called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). The extra $600 per week is only available from the week starting March 29, 2020 through July 25, 2020. You don’t have to do anything extra to apply to get it. If you get PEUC benefits in a week during this time period, we will also send you the $600 that week.

  9. Can I choose to stay on PEUC if I qualify for a new claim, but my new weekly benefit amount is lower?

    No. Federal law says that you are not eligible for PEUC if you have regular unemployment insurance benefits available, even if you will get less in regular unemployment insurance.

  10. If I have wages in another state, can I have the extension in Oregon instead of filing a claim in another state?

    No. PEUC is only available if you have no other regular claim eligibility in any state.

  11. I am self-employed and don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits. Do I qualify for PEUC?

    If you don’t qualify for regular unemployment benefits, you also don’t qualify for PEUC. If you are self-employed, a contract worker, some gig workers, or other worker not eligible for regular unemployment benefits, you may qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

  12. My employer called me back to work, but I turned it down because of a COVID-19 related reason. Am I eligible for PEUC?

    Possibly. You may be eligible for PEUC if you turn down an offer of work due to one of the COVID-19 related reasons.

  13. My employer called me back to work, but I turned it down because I make more money on unemployment. Can I still receive PEUC benefits?

    No. You are not eligible for PEUC if you turn down an offer of suitable work because you earn more on unemployment.

  14. My claim did not have the full 26 weeks of benefits. How many weeks will I get for PEUC?

    This extension is 13 weeks of benefits regardless of the maximum benefit amount of your prior claim.

  15. What happens if I run out of PEUC?

    If you run out of PEUC and are not eligible for a regular claim or other extensions, you may qualify for Extended Benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

  16. Can I pick which extension or program I want to use first?

    No. Regular benefits must be paid first before PEUC. PEUC must be paid before any other extension.

  17. Do I have a new waiting week on PEUC?

    No. PEUC does not have a waiting week.

  18. Are there any special requirements for PEUC?

    No. All current Oregon laws and rules for unemployment insurance eligibility apply the same to PEUC as they do regular benefits.

  19. Should I continue to make weekly unemployment claims?

    If you are currently on regular unemployment benefits, continue to make weekly unemployment claims for each week you are out of work. If we determine you are eligible for benefits, regular or extended, we may be able to apply benefit eligibility to the weeks you have already claimed.

  20. I got the PEUC application as part of my weekly claim, and it said I needed to submit an application by secure upload. Why?

    If you report that you worked out of state, or for the federal government or military, we need to review your application before your PEUC application can be filed. Continue to file your weekly claims until we can determine you are eligible for PEUC.

Extended Benefits (EB)

  1. What are Extended Benefits (EB)?

    Extended Benefits (EB) is an extension program triggered by a state’s unemployment rate. EB typically pays an additional 13 weeks of benefits, or 50 percent or of the number of weeks you were eligible for on your regular UI claim.

    During periods of high unemployment, an individual could receive up to 20 weeks of EB, or 80 percent of the number of weeks you were eligible for on your regular unemployment insurance (UI) claim. This is considered High EB, or HEB.

    Due to the state’s high unemployment rate, individuals may be eligible for HEB. The weekly benefit amount of HEB is the same as the regular UI payment.

    If Oregon’s average Unemployment Rate falls below 8% over a three month period, individuals on High EB may have their benefits reduced. When this happens, a written notification of the reduction will be mailed.

  2. How do I know I'm eligible for extended benefits?

    • You used all your regular benefits and any other extension available.
    • You do not qualify for a new claim in Oregon, any other state, Canada, or another federal program.
    • Your most recent Oregon claim expired May 16, 2020 or later.
    • Your total wages earned in the base year of the claim equaling at least 40 times your weekly benefit amount (40xWBA).
    • You must meet temporary eligibility requirements related to COVID-19 (meet regular eligibility requirements after the emergency declaration expires).

    The first payable week is week starting June 28, 2020.

  3. How do I apply for extended benefits?

    To apply, keep filing weekly like normal and you will be automatically enrolled if you are eligible. We also may reach out to you, so please turn off call-blocking features on your phone because our phone number will not show the call as coming from the Employment Department. We may leave a message if we do not reach you. Make sure your voicemail is set up and has space to receive new messages. If there is an interruption in payment, please let us know by using the contact us form.

    If you claim a week of benefits and you do not meet the actively seeking work requirement, you will not be eligible to receive additional EB benefits until you worked in four (4) separate weeks and earned 4 times your weekly benefit amount (4 x WBA). Self-employment earnings do not count for this requirement.

  4. How long will EB last?

    EB will be available until Oregon reaches a 3-month average total unemployment rate that is below 6.5%. Individuals receiving EB will be notified in writing when Oregon EB is over.

  5. My PEUC balance is at zero (0), but I haven’t been able to speak to anyone yet about EB. Should I wait to file another week of benefits until I can apply for EB?

    No. Keep filing weekly claims while unemployed or partially employed. If you are eligible, we automatically will enroll you back to the week when the previous program benefits were exhausted (balance is at $0).

  6. How is my benefit amount determined?

    EB is paid at the same rate of pay as your regular claim. Your weekly benefit amount is 1.25% of your total base year gross earnings. Under Oregon law, it will not be less than the minimum or more than the maximum amounts you can receive.​ Currently, the weekly minimum is $157 and the weekly maximum is $673.

    The base year is a 12-month period made up of the first four of the last five completed quarters. It’s based on the date you file your claim application, not the date you become unemployed. If you don’t qualify for a claim using a regular base year we will automatically review your claim to see if you qualify for an alternate base year.

    A calendar quarter is a 3-month period ending March 31, June 30, September 30, or December 31.

  7. I’m eligible for a new regular claim, but my old claim had a much higher Weekly Benefit Amount. Can I file EB on my old claim?

    No. EB can only be filed on the most recent valid claim if you have no other eligibility in Oregon or any other state.

  8. Can I choose between Extended Benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?

    No. PUA is only available if you do not qualify for a regular unemployment insurance claim or any extensions.

  9. Do I have a new waiting week on EB?

    No. EB does not have a separate waiting week.

  10. What happens if I run out of EB benefits and still haven’t found a job?

    If you exhaust EB and are not eligible for a new claim in Oregon or any other state, you may qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Although the PUA program will expire soon, funds are available through the week ending Dec. 26, 2020. You can apply for this program on our PUA CARES Act page.

  11. Are there any special requirements for EB?

    Yes. Individuals receiving EB must be willing to accept work they are capable of performing that pays at least the state minimum wage, or an amount over your weekly benefit amount. If you turn down work offered under these conditions, you will be denied benefits until you work in four (4) separate weeks and earn four times your weekly benefit amount. Working in self-employment will not satisfy this requirement.

  12. What are my work search requirements while receiving EB?

    EB does have special work seeking requirements, however, you can continue following the guidance provided by the department and our COVID-19 temporary rules. We will notify you of new work search requirements once the COVID-19 temporary rules expire or are no longer in effect.

  13. I live in Oregon and had a claim here last year, but my most recent valid claim was filed in Idaho. Where do I file EB?

    You file EB in the state where you established your most recent valid claim. In this case, you would contact Idaho to file EB.

  14. I have an Oregon claim, but live in a state that does not have EB available. Can I still receive this benefit?

    Individuals who live in a state that has not triggered EB are only entitled to receive two weeks of EB. You could become eligible to receive additional EB benefits if your state later initiates the extension.

  15. I don’t qualify for an EB because I didn’t earn enough in my base year, can I get other benefits?

    You may qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is available through the week ending
    Dec. 26, 2020. You can apply for this program on our PUA CARES Act page.

  16. I got a document in the mail saying my EB benefit amount has been reduced. Why?

    Generally, EB provides either 13 or 20 weeks of benefits, depending on the unemployment rate when the extension becomes available. If an individual is initially eligible for 20 weeks of benefits and the unemployment rate improves, some individuals will see a reduction in benefits accordingly. In this case, the Employment Department will send written notification to all who are affected.

  17. Where can I find more information on extended benefits in Oregon?

    You can find more information on extended benefits here.

Lost Wage Assistance (LWA)

  1. What is the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program?

    The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program is a temporary emergency measure that gives an additional $300 per week to people who are out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic and receiving unemployment benefits. The LWA was authorized through an August 8, 2020 Presidential Memorandum.

  2. How much money will a person get each week?

    People eligible for LWA will receive an additional $300 on top of their weekly unemployment benefit.

  3. How many weeks will be paid under the program?

    The LWA program can use up to $44 billion in disaster relief funding. The program is available for the period of July 26, 2020 through September 5, 2020. Oregon has been approved to provide six weeks of $300 payments with benefits going to Oregonians who received unemployment benefits from July 26 through September 5.

  4. Who is eligible for the LWA?

    Not everyone who has filed an unemployment claim is eligible for these payments. To qualify for the program, you must:

    • Have received unemployment benefits from July 26, 2020, through September 5, 2020, and
    • Self-certify that you are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. This will require a new step for claimants currently receiving regular unemployment benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Extended Benefits (EB). Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will not need to certify because they already did so when they first applied for PUA benefits.
  5. Do individuals need to apply for the LWA?

    No. There is not a separate application for the LWA program. People who meet the self-certification requirements will be eligible for the additional LWA benefits. Individuals receiving regular benefits will need to self-certify they were unemployed, partially unemployed, unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19. This will require a new step for claimants currently receiving regular unemployment benefits, PEUC and EB.

  6. What does self-certification mean?

    Individuals will have to complete a one-time self-certification that states they are unemployed, partially unemployed or unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID.

    People who were approved for PUA already self-certified when they applied. PUA claimants also answer questions weekly about their eligibility so these individuals already have satisfied the LWA self-certification requirement.

  7. Where do I go to certify for LWA?

    You will go to Online Claim System (OCS)and click the button that says “Lost Wage Assistance”. Remember, you still need to file your weekly claim for benefits after you self-certify.

  8. What if I don’t have a PIN or haven’t filed for unemployment insurance benefits?

    If you do not have a PIN number that probably means you have not yet filed a claim. You will need to file an initial claim. File a claim here or call 877-345-3484.

  9. I participate in WorkShare and don't have a PIN. How do I self-certify?

    If you participate in WorkShare and are eligible for LWA, you do not need to self-certify. Your employer will certify on your behalf.

    Participating WorkShare employers will need to send an email to OED_workshare@oregon.gov certifying that employees' reduction in hours was the result of COVID-19.

  10. What if I haven’t filed for unemployment insurance benefits? How long do I have to file for these benefits?

    You must have an unemployment insurance claim and requested benefits after July 26, 2020 in order to certify you were unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19. File a claim here or call 877-345-3484.

  11. What do I need to do to receive the LWA payment?

    Just keep filing your weekly claims as you have been. You will be asked if you were unemployed, partially unemployed, unable or unavailable to work due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

  12. How long after I certify will I receive the money?

    We are gathering all the information necessary from claimants to implement the program. We are working as quickly as possible to implement this temporary measure and distribute payments to Oregonians.

  13. Is the LWA the same program that paid the extra $600 per week under the CARES Act?

    No. The $600 per week available under the CARES Act expired at the end of July. LWA has different eligibility requirements and there is a limited pool of money that will be shared among all states that apply and are approved.

  14. Is there a minimum weekly benefit amount claimants have to receive to get LWA?

    No. As long as claimants are eligible to receive at least $1 in benefits, they can receive LWA. The LWA program does require that a person must receive at least $100 a week in benefits. Since Oregon’s minimum weekly benefit amount is higher than the $100 required by LWA, this is not a concern for Oregon claimants.

    For example, there are people receiving less than $100 each week in regular unemployment insurance benefits, PUA, PEUC or EB. Their benefit was reduced because they had deductions for child support payments, taxes, or earnings. They will still be eligible for the entire $300.

  15. Are LWA payments taxable?

    Yes. LWA payments are taxable under federal law, just like regular UI or PUA benefits. If you have taxes withheld from your other benefits, they will also be withheld from the LWA benefits.

  16. Will claimants who have already been paid their benefits from July 26, 2020 through September 5, 2020 receive supplemental LWA retroactively?

    Yes. LWA is retroactive to eligible claimants beginning with the week of July 26, 2020. However, if you become unemployed after the week of July 26, 2020, you only can receive LWA for weeks where you qualify for unemployment benefits and meet LWA eligibility requirements.

  17. If the Employment Department determines I am eligible for a prior week of unemployment after LWA program ends, will LWA payments be paid for that week?

    A person whose eligibility status is determined after the end date (September 5, 2020) may not be entitled to receive LWA benefits.

  18. I just received a notice that says I need to self-certify for Lost Wages Assistance. Does everyone get this?

    No. PUA customers will not receive a notice because they certify they are COVID-19 impacted when they claim benefits each week.

  19. I just received a notice that says I need to self-certify for Lost Wages Assistance. I already did, do I need to self-certify again?

    No. You only self-certify once. These notices go to all Oregon claimants who have not yet self-certified. There’s a chance you may have self-certified in between the time the notice was sent and you received it.

  20. I just received a notice that says I need to self-certify for Lost Wages Assistance. I already did, will this mess up my claim?

    No. You only self-certify once. We keep track of all your answers and our system uses your most recent answer.

  21. What if I was paid LWA benefits but ended up not being eligible?

    If you’ve received Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) payments and are not eligible, you are required to repay those benefits to the Oregon Employment Department. At this time, we cannot accept LWA payments through the online payment portal.

    You can repay these benefits by check. Please make your check out to LWA-Oregon Employment Department, include your Customer Identification Number (CID) and write LWA in the memo area of your check. Mail your check to:

    Oregon Employment Department

    PO Box 14130

    Salem OR 97309

    If you received LWA benefits by paper check and still have the check(s), you can mail the check(s) to the above address.

Paycheck Protection Program

  1. I didn’t report my Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan as earnings on my weekly claim even though I paid myself. What do I do?

    You need to correct the weekly claims for when you paid yourself or used PPP monies for personal use. Submit an adjustment to your weekly claim using the Updated Gross Earnings Form at unemployment.oregon.gov. You will have to pay back any overpaid benefits you received.

  2. I have either a regular UI or PUA claim and I’m not self-employed. I received a payment from my employer through their Paycheck Protection Program loan for weeks I already claimed. Do I need to change my weekly certifications and report the payment(s) as earnings?

    No. This is back pay and you do not need to report it on weeks already claimed.

  3. I have either a regular UI or PUA claim and I’m not self-employed. I received a payment from my employer through their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan for this week. Since I haven’t claimed my week yet do I need to report this as earnings?

    Yes. This needs to be reported as earnings when you claim the week.

  4. I’m self-employed and I have a PUA claim. Do I have to report the funds I received from my PPP loan on my weekly claim?

    It depends. If you used the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds only to pay business expenses then you do not need to report them on your weekly claim.

    If PPP funds were for personal use, then you need to report them as earnings in the week you used them. Examples of personal use include but are not limited to food, rent or mortgage, car payments, and utilities.

General unemployment insurance benefits (UI) questions

  1. How long can I get unemployment benefits?

    Before COVID-19, you could get up to 26 weeks per year of regular unemployment benefits. Now, because of the CARES Act, you can get 13 weeks more of PEUC benefits. Because the unemployment rate is so high, there are also other benefit extensions available, so many people may be able to up to 59 weeks total if they are eligible each week.

  2. How much money will I get in weekly unemployment benefits?

    Regular unemployment benefits are usually 1.25 percent of a worker’s earnings over a 12-month period. For example, a worker who earned $12.50 per hour, working 40 hours per week for the past year would get $325 per week in unemployment benefits. The minimum regular unemployment benefits payment is $151 per week. The maximum is $648 per week. (For new initial claims filed June 28 or later, the minimum is $157 and the maximum is $673).

    The PUA weekly benefit amount is calculated the same way as for regular unemployment benefits, but PUA has a higher minimum payment. The minimum PUA benefit is $205 per week. The maximum is $648 per week.

    With the CARES Act, everyone getting unemployment benefits in a given week also gets an extra $600 that week. This applies only to the time period March 29, 2020 through July 25, 2020.

  3. I got a notice about unemployment benefits that I didn’t file for. I think someone may have stolen my identity to apply for unemployment benefits. What do I do?

    Impostors are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to file claims for unemployment benefits using the names and personal information of people who have not filed claims. Oregonians learn about the fraud when they get a notice from the state unemployment benefits office or their employer about their supposed application for benefits.

    If this happens to you, it means someone is misusing your personal information, including most likely both your Social Security number and date of birth. It’s important for you to act fast. There are four steps you can take to help you protect your finances and your credit:

    1. Report the fraud to the Oregon Employment Department online at www.workinginoregon.org.
    2. Report the fraud to your employer.
    3. Visit www.IdentityTheft.gov to report the fraud to the FTC and get help with the next important recovery steps. These include placing a free, one-year fraud alert on your credit, getting your free credit reports, and closing any fraudulent accounts opened in your name. IdentityTheft.gov also will help you add a free extended fraud alert or credit freeze to your credit report. These make it more difficult for an identity thief to open new accounts in your name.
    4. Review your credit reports often. For the next year, you can check your reports for errors every week for free through www.AnnualCreditReport.com.

    You need to know a few more important things:

    If the scammer succeeds in obtaining unemployment payments, they are usually deposited to accounts the imposter controls. But sometimes payments get sent to the real person’s account instead. If this happens to you, the scammers may call, text, or email to try to get you to send the money to them. They may pretend to be the Oregon Employment Department and say the money was sent by mistake. This is known as a “money mule scam.”

    If you do get benefits you never applied for, report it to the Oregon Employment Department. Do not respond to calls, emails, text messages, or messages on social media telling you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. The Oregon Employment Department will never ask you to repay money that way, and they will never ask for your personal identifying information via social media. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.

    For more information on fraud and scams related to the COVID-19 crisis, see www.oregonconsumer.gov/COVID-19.

  4. I got someone else’s UI checks in the mail and they don’t live here any longer. What do I do with the checks?

    Please mail them back to us (you would need to pay for the stamp) at PO Box 14135, Salem, OR 97309-5068. Or you could drop them off at a local WorkSource center. WorkSource center locations can be found here: worksourceoregon.org/Centers.html

  5. I heard that the federal government or Governor Brown waived the waiting week. What does that mean for me?

    Before COVID-19, state law required that you wait one week of unemployment before you could start getting any unemployment benefits. This is called the waiting week. You still have to file a claim that week.

    The rules recently changed and now states can waive the waiting week so people can get benefits one week sooner. We are working on making this update to our computer system. Unfortunately, we expect it to take several months. Once we make the update, we will send you the benefits we owe you for that first week. We will post an update here as soon as we have one.

  6. My question didn’t get answered here. What can I do?

    Try our Resources page. If you don’t see what you’re looking for there, please ask your question on our Facebook page. We are closely monitoring social media, and adding the most common questions we see there to this page.

  7. I was told I am not eligible for unemployment due to my retirement annuities (e.g., IRA accounts, PERS, FERS, etc.) Does receiving a retirement annuity make me ineligible?

    Federal and state laws require that weekly benefits (UI and PUA) be reduced by the amount of retirement benefits someone receives (other than Social Security) if the benefits are from a program that is paid into by an employer the person worked for in their base year. So it is not categorical and requires a case by case review.

    For example, if someone is getting PERS benefits, and works for any employer that contributes to PERS during their base year, then the retirement amount does reduce, and in many cases eliminate, their weekly benefits. If they are getting PERS retirement benefits but did not work during their base year for any employer that contributes to PERS, then the retirement income does not impact their weekly benefit eligibility.

    You can find more information at https://www.oregon.gov/employ/... under the “How does retirement pay affect by benefits” question.

  8. I got a letter saying I need to submit proof of authorization to work. How do I do that?

    If you got a letter from us asking for proof of authorization to work, the quickest way for us to process that is if you submit it through our Contact Us form. Pick the "Worker authorization documentation" option and upload your document(s).

Returning to work

  1. My employer wants me to come back to work but I think it’s unsafe. Do I still qualify for unemployment benefits?

    You may still be eligible for unemployment benefits. We will not deny your benefits if you don’t go back to work because the conditions violate state orders about workplace safety to limit the spread of the coronavirus. We will not deny benefits if someone "declines work" because the work is not "suitable." This means health risk, safety, and other facts will be reviewed. Please be aware that deciding this requires individual, case-specific review and can take time. When filing your weekly claim, include as much context in the narrative box as possible. Expect us to call you and your employer.

    The key things we look at are:

    • Is the work you’re being asked to do “suitable work”? If work is not suitable, then not doing the work should not prevent you from getting UI benefits.
    • Did you have “good cause” for not doing the work or for quitting your job? Being asked by your employer to do something that violates the law counts as “good cause,” particularly if you have told your employer your concerns and your employer has not addressed them. Also, if a doctor tells you you cannot do the job and you have explored reasonable alternatives with your employer that might permit you to do the job, but the employer cannot or will not do them, that also usually counts as “good cause.”

    Right now we also have our temporary rule that says you are not disqualified from getting UI benefits if you refuse to work “in violation of a mandatory quarantine or Governor’s directive regarding the limitation of activities to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.” If your workplace is not following the guidance on reopening (personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing, whatever is applicable) then you would not be disqualified if you refuse to work in those conditions.

    The Employment Department is relying on public health experts about workplace safety issues. So, if a business is open and following the safety standards that are set out by public health officials, then in general, people should be returning to work. People should not be returning to work in violation of those standards.

    For example, if the standards for a particular type of business requires that employees be provided certain types of PPE, and the business is not providing them, then an employee would not be disqualified from getting UI benefits if they refuse to return to work. If the business is open and following all applicable standards, then in general, refusing to return to work would mean the employee cannot receive benefits.

    There are many exceptions to this, though. If any of the COVID-19 related situations in our temporary rules (see Question 3) apply to you, then you can still keep getting regular UI. For example, if your health care provider advises you not to return to work.

    If you’re getting PUA benefits and any of the CARES Act reasons apply to you, then you can keep getting PUA benefits.

    The Employment Department doesn’t have to wait for a decision on safety from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to decide if you’re eligible for UI. We decide based on the information we have.



  2. I wasn’t able to return to work on the date I listed on my application. What should I do?

    In non-pandemic times, when you tell us you plan to return to work on a certain date, our system automatically pauses payments starting that day because it thinks you’re now working and you don’t need unemployment benefits anymore. This works well in normal times, but has created problems now. We have made changes to our system to stop some claims from pausing. Many of these claims require manual review by our employees, and sometimes our staff have to do follow-up phone calls to remove the pause.

    If your claim is paused -if you didn’t go back to work and your payments stopped--call us to restart your claim. Do not file a brand new initial claim.

  3. Once a county is in Phase 1 of reopening, do unemployment benefits end for anyone working in a job that is included in Phase 1?

    When your county is approved to reopen under Phase 1 guidelines, nothing compels your place of employment to reopen if they are unable to conform to Phase 1 guidelines. Or if they need more time to conform with the public health requirements.

    If your place of employment does not reopen, you are still eligible for unemployment benefits.

    If your place of employment does reopen and you are uncomfortable returning to work because they are not following public health guidelines, then you may still be eligible for benefits. See the question, "My employer wants me to come back to work but I think it’s unsafe. Do I still qualify for unemployment benefits?"

  4. I need help looking for a job. How can you help?

    Statewide WorkSource Oregon centers provide a broad range of services to help in your return to work. Employer job listings, resume writing resources, career exploration tools, and labor market information are among the services provided. Staff are available to assist you and introduce you to the services that will benefit you in your work search. You can also visit the Oregon Employment Department website.

  5. Do I qualify for benefits if I cannot return to work (or only return part time) due to having to care for my child?

    If your child care facility is closed, limited in capacity, requires you to use full-time care and you only need part-time care, or you are caring for the child of an essential worker and you are deemed non-essential, then you may be eligible for regular unemployment or PUA.

  6. Are there benefits for those who do come back to work?

    There are situations where workers can continue claiming benefits while working. If someone is either working full-time or earns more than their regular weekly benefit amount (the extra $600 does not factor in to this computation), they are not eligible for any benefits for that week. If they work less than full time and earn less than their weekly benefit amount, they can generally receive at least some benefits that week.

    Workers can earn up to either ten times the highest minimum wage in Oregon or one-third of their regular weekly benefit amount, whichever is higher, without any reduction in their benefits. Any amount earned over that threshold reduces their weekly benefits dollar for dollar. For any eligible week between March 29 and July 25, 2020, if they receive any benefits at all in a week, they also receive the additional $600. For more information on claiming while working, click here.

  7. What earnings do I have to report?

    You must report any payments you receive in exchange for any services you provide or products you sell. This includes:

    • Gross earnings
    • Cash
    • Non-cash payments such as room and board
    • Tips, bonuses, stand-by pay, sick pay
    • Commission pay, and
    • Vacation and holiday pay.

    Exceptions: You don’t need to report as earnings:

    • Lump sum payout of accrued vacation pay if it is paid to you to “clear the books” – you will not be returning to work.
    • Reimbursements for minor expenses such as meals, lodging, mileage and other traveling expenses
    • Weekend military drill pay, or
    • Jury duty pay.

    Call the UI Center if you have questions about what to report or how to report cash and non-cash earnings.

  8. Does the “Working While Claiming” earnings threshold apply to all benefit payments?

    Yes. This applies to all our benefit programs, including regular Unemployment Insurance, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Extended Benefits (EB).

  9. How much more can I make before my benefits are reduced?

    You can now earn up to $300 without seeing any change to your benefit. To qualify, you cannot:

    • Earn more than your weekly benefit amount, or
    • Work more than 39 hours.
  10. What happens if I earn the same as, or more than, my weekly benefit amount?

    Any amount earned over $300 will be reduced from their weekly benefit, dollar-for-dollar.

    Example 1: If you have $150 in gross earnings and your benefit is $151, you will receive your full benefit amount.

    Why: You made less in gross earnings than your benefit amount.

    Example 2: If you have $151 in gross earnings and your benefit is $151, you will not receive benefits that week.

    Why: You earned the same amount as your benefit amount.

    Example 3: If you have $225 in gross earnings and your benefit is $300, you will receive your full benefit amount.

    Why: Your gross earnings are less than your weekly benefit limit of $300.

    Example 4: If you have $300 in gross earnings and your benefit amount is $500, you will receive your full benefit amount.

    Why: Your $300 in gross earnings is less than your weekly benefit amount AND you do not exceed the $300 limit for gross earnings.

    Example 5: If you have $325 in gross earnings and your benefit amount is $500, you will receive $475 in benefits.

    Why: Your gross earnings are higher than the $300 limit created by SB 1701. After you pass $300 in weekly earnings, your benefit amount is reduced dollar-for-dollar for any amount over $300. Since your earnings are $25 over the $300 limit, your benefit amount will be reduced
    by $25.

  11. What do I need to do to receive my weekly benefit increase?

    We will automatically make the adjustment for you. You do not need to call us.

  12. When does this go into effect?

    This is effective from September 6, 2020 through January 1, 2022

  13. Do I need to do anything to increase my benefit amount for the week ending September 12, 2020?

    No. If you were paid for the week ending September 12, 2020 before we updated our programming, we will adjust your claim and issue payment for the correct weekly benefit by your normal payment method.

  14. I had to submit a request when the PUA definition of gross earnings changed. Do I have to submit another request for this?

    No. We changed our programming to calculate your correct weekly benefit amount (WBA) based on the gross earnings you report on your weekly certification.

  15. What if I made a mistake when I reported my gross earnings?

    If you made a mistake when you reported your earnings, you can call us at 877-345-3484 for regular UI or 833-410-1004 for PUA and we will fix it. The quickest way to correct your earnings is to submit your request through our Contact Us form and let us know what the correct earnings are.

Employers

Restarting Operations

  1. What if I have to lay people off or temporarily close my business because of issues related to COVID-19?

    Those workers may be able to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits. UI benefits may be available to those who are on a temporary layoff. These benefits occur for claimants whose employer stops operation for a short period of time, such as cleaning following a coronavirus exposure, or by government requirement. Workers can get UI benefits, and do not need to seek work with other employers. They must be able to work, stay in contact with you as their employer, and be available to work when you call them back to the job.

  2. I want to give my employees severance. Will that negatively impact their Unemployment Insurance benefits?

    No. Severance pay is not considered income. It does not have to be reported in a weekly claim for benefits.

  3. Can I get benefits if I am a self-employed, contract, or gig worker?

    Yes, if you are out of work due to a COVID-19 related reason. The CARES Act created the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for people who cannot get regular unemployment benefits, such as self-employed, contract, and some gig workers (whose employers are not required to pay payroll taxes on their wages).

    If you are an employee, though--and this includes some gig workers (whose employers are supposed to pay payroll taxes on their wages)--apply for regular unemployment benefits.

    You can find application materials and instructions here.

  4. How does the CARES Act help non-profit organizations, tribes, and local governments?

    The CARES Act provides federal funding to cover half of the costs of reimbursable benefits. Workers for these entities are eligible for the weekly $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

  5. I received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) but I am having trouble getting all of my employees to come back to work. What do I do?

    The Employment Department is unable to advise people about the Paycheck Protection Program. Please contact the Small Business Administration for guidance at sba.gov.

    The PPP program does not affect a person’s eligibility for unemployment benefits. Factors that affect unemployment benefits include if a business is able to operate under executive or public safety guidelines, the amount of earnings they have when returning to work, and potential situations related to COVID-19 that might prevent returning to work.

  6. Will my taxes be raised if more Oregonians qualify for and receive unemployment benefits?

    Unemployment Insurance tax rates are set annually. The next determination occurs in November of this year for calendar year 2021. Oregon Unemployment Insurance tax rates are set at one of eight rates (or schedules) based on the level of trust fund monies so that the fund remains solvent and can continue to pay benefits to those unemployed through no fault of their own.

    This tax structure has been in place for decades, and has served Oregon workers, businesses, and communities well in each economic circumstance since then by providing both benefits and stability. While there are many different factors involved in the statutory formula that determines employer UI tax rates, at this point the Employment Department does not anticipate sudden or significant Tax schedule change.

  7. I got a letter telling me I will be charged. Is it a bill? Employers reported receiving notices of unemployment for their employees that look like bills.

    Good news, it is not a bill. We provide this information to employers because we are required to. The Notice of Potential Charges informs employers what the most impact will be to its future “experience rating” (one factor used to determine future UI payroll tax rates) if the person who is seeking benefits gets all the benefits they are eligible for. Employer experience ratings are computed annually, and look at the time period of July 1 – June 30. Because of the timing of the coronavirus, the impact of this is likely to be spread across multiple tax years, minimizing any sudden or drastic changes. Click here to view a sample of this type of letter, called a Form 197.

Work Share

  1. What is the Work Share Program?

    The program gives employers an alternative to laying off your workforce. It lets you keep skilled employees during slow times by reducing work hours. Eligible staff whose hours are reduced get a portion of their regular unemployment insurance benefits to make up for the lost wages.

    Find more information about our Work Share Program. View our Work Share fact sheet and Work Share FAQs. The Work Share program has information online and we are advising to start there www.oregonworkshare.com with application information. This program has increased in popularity and is a labor-intensive type of claim.

    Federal legislation is providing full federal reimbursement for Work Share benefits for late March through December 2020. We are adding staff to meet the huge demand for this program. Contact info for Work Share:

    1. Email: OED_WorkShare@oregon.gov​
    2. Phone: (503)-947-1800
    3. Toll Free: (800)-436-6191

    Usually, benefits paid out under the Work Share plan would impact an employer’s future UI tax rate the same as any traditional unemployment insurance benefits would. Under recent federal legislation, however, there is an additional benefit to employers to use Work Share. Work Share benefits for March 29 through December 26, 2020 are being reimbursed by the federal government, which means they will not impact the employer’s tax rate.

  2. How much can employees earn through the Work Share program?

    The weekly benefit amount depends on the income of the employee and the number of hours that are reduced. If an employee’s hours are reduced by 20%, they would receive 20% of the unemployment insurance benefits they would have received if they had been laid off. FOR EXAMPLE: If Jim usually works five days a week and earns $500, he would now work four days per week and earn $400 from his employer. If Jim is eligible for $275 a week in unemployment insurance benefits, he will now receive both the $400 in wages from his employer and $55 in Work Share benefits for the week (20% of his $275 weekly benefit), for a total of $455. Your employees can use our online benefit estimator to find out how much they are eligible to earn through Work Share.

  3. How is Work Share funded and will it affect my tax rate?

    Work Share usually is funded the same way traditional unemployment insurance is, through payroll taxes paid by employers. The exception is some governmental, tribal, and non-profit employers that are “reimbursing employers.” They repay the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund for any benefits paid out in lieu of taxes.

    Between March 29, 2020 and December 26, 2020, all Work Share benefits will be federally funded. This includes additional payments received under Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) or Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). Any benefits paid through these programs will not be charged to taxpaying employers. They will not be billed to reimbursing employers.

  4. Will Work Share employees qualify for the additional $600 a week?

    Yes. If an individual is eligible for Work Share, they will receive a separate weekly payment of $600 under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (FPUC) program (payable for March 29 through July 25, 2020).

  5. What do employees have to do while on the Work Share program?

    Employees complete a simple two-page initial claim application. They are not required to look for work or submit weekly certifications while on the program. If they have other employment, the claimant must report any additional wages or income from that employment.

  6. Are my employees able to use paid time-off like sick leave or vacation leave if they are out ill or want to take a day off to head out of town?

    You must still be able to work and available to work to qualify for Work Share. If you have available work for your employee and they choose not to work for any reason, they would not qualify for Work Share that week.

    Exception: If your staff miss work due to COVID-19, please let us know. We will accept their weekly claim but will need to review it under regular UI guidelines, and not under Work Share. The person’s earnings may also impact their eligibility for the week.

    UPDATE: Beginning August 2, 2020 through December 26, 2020, an employee may use approved, accrued leave as hours worked during the week, such as leave taken for other reasons, including because the employee is sick, is caring for someone else who is sick, is on jury duty, or because of COVID-19 related reasons. This does not apply to leave taken for vacation purposes.

    FOR EXAMPLE: If an employee is scheduled to work 40 hours per week but needs to be out all week due to being sick or taking care of someone who is sick, they should use between 24-32 hours of accrued leave to meet the Work Share reduction in hours. If they take more than 32 hours or under 24 hours, they will not meet the reduction in hours of 20-40%.

  7. What is a normal work week for Work Share?

    A normal work week for Work Share is considered the seven-day period of Sunday through Saturday and includes the hours that you normally work.

  8. What happens if my normal workweek is more than 40 hours?

    If you normally work more than 40 hours each week, you would still need to have a 20-40 percent reduction in work hours to qualify for Work Share benefits. You must use a 40 hour workweek to figure your reduced work schedule, even though you normally work more than that.

    For example, if you normally work 50 hours each week, your Work Share workweek is reported as 40 hours. Your hours would need to be reduced between 8-16 hours each week, for a workweek of 24-32 hours, to qualify for Work Share benefits. In this case, we used 20-40 percent of 40 hours per week.

  9. What happens if my normal workweek is less than 40 hours?

    If you normally work less than 40 hours each week, you would need to have a 20-40 percent reduction in work hours to qualify for Work Share benefits. You must use the amount of hours you normally work to figure your reduced work schedule.

    For example, if you normally work 30 hours each week, your Work Share workweek is reported as 30 hours. Your hours would need to be reduced between 6-12 hours each week, for a workweek of 18-24 hours, to qualify for Work Share benefits. In this case, we used 20-40 percent of 30 hours per week.

Business Reopening

  1. My business is reopening. What do I need to do?

    The state has taken emergency measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, resulting in many temporary business closures. As more business operations start to resume in Oregon, situations may occur where workers either cannot or do not return to work, or are asked to return to work with a changed schedule or number of hours. If you are ready to open, but cannot bring back all of your workers at once, the Work Share program may be able to help you bring workers back part-time.

  2. I have called my staff back to work, however, some are choosing not to return because they are financially better off receiving unemployment benefits. What do I do?

    If your employee does not return to work, and it is not for a reason listed below, please let us know. Employers cannot make unemployment benefit qualification determinations for workers.

    Employees may still be eligible for unemployment benefits if they turn down an offer of suitable work due to COVID-19 related reasons as defined in our temporary rules. They may still be eligible for unemployment benefits if they are:

    • Ill with COVID-19
    • Potentially exposed to COVID-19 and subjected to a mandatory quarantine period
    • Staying home to care for a family member, or other person they live with or who they provide care for, who is suffering from COVID-19 or subject to mandatory quarantine
    • Unable to work because they have to stay home to care for a child due to the closure of schools, child care providers, or similar facilities due to COVID-19
    • Asked to work when it would require them to act in violation of a mandatory quarantine or government directive
    • Unable to work because they have been advised by their health care provider or by advice issued by public health officials to self-quarantine due to possible risk of exposure to or spread of COVID-19
  3. I have called staff to return to work but some are choosing not to return because they are afraid they will be exposed to COVID-19 even though the worksite follows current government and public health guidelines. What do I do?

    As long as the work site can meet government and public health guidelines, and a situation where an employee can continue claiming benefits does not apply, employees are considered able to work and no longer eligible for benefits.

  4. What are the situations where an employee can continue claiming unemployment benefits if they do not return when called back to work?

    Employees may still be eligible for unemployment benefits if they turn down an offer of suitable work due to COVID-19 related reasons as defined in our temporary rules. They may still be eligible for unemployment benefits if they are:

    1. Ill with COVID-19.
    2. Potentially exposed to COVID-19 and subjected to a mandatory quarantine period.
    3. Staying home to care for a family member, or other person they live with or who they provide care for, who is suffering from COVID-19 or subject to mandatory quarantine.
    4. Unable to work because they have to stay home to care for a child due to the closure of schools, child care providers, or similar facilities due to COVID-19.
    5. Asked to work when it would require them to act in violation of a mandatory quarantine or government directive.
    6. Unable to work because they have been advised by their health care provider or by advice issued by public health officials to self-quarantine due to possible risk of exposure to or spread of COVID-19.

    We know that some people may be able to get more in weekly benefits while the additional $600 payments are available than they could earn while working. However, not returning to work because of that, would make someone ineligible for benefits and could subject them to additional monetary and other penalties. This form online https://secure.emp.state.or.us/public/FraudIntake/ is available to report when employees do not return to work when asked to and it is NOT because of one of those COVID-19 reasons.

  5. I called my employees back to work but some are refusing because the worksite can’t follow social distancing guidelines issued by government or public health officials. Can they continue receiving unemployment benefits?

    If a worksite cannot follow social distancing guidelines issued by government or public health officials, the employee may continue claiming benefits each week. The standards that have been issued by the Governor are not uniform across all types of businesses. Along with her orders, standards incorporate guidance issued by the Oregon Health Authority.

  6. I have called my staff back to work but some are choosing not to return because they are scared. What should I do?

    Emergency rules explain the added flexibility in how the employment department defines availability to work, actively seeking work, and able to work. And the definitions are tightly connected to Covid-19 related reasons (listed above). However, being in close proximity to the public is not a COVID-19 related reason.

    As long as your workplace can follow social distancing guidelines issued by government or public health officials, and the person does not have a COVID-19 related reason for returning to work, they are considered able to work. Choosing not to return to work would affect their unemployment benefit eligibility. The resource we refer to for guidelines issued by government of public health officials is the Governor’s COVID-19 Resources for Oregonians website https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19

Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and Payroll Taxes

  1. Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and Payroll Taxes

    Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits are paid to eligible people who are unemployed or have had their hours reduced through no fault of their own. These benefits are funded by State Unemployment Tax Act (SUTA) payroll taxes paid by employers, as well as reimbursements from governmental and non-profit employers.

    In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which temporarily increased benefit amounts, extended the length of benefits, and paid benefits to people who normally would not qualify for unemployment benefits. New benefit programs created by the CARES Act or because of the pandemic are funded by the federal government.

  2. Who is receiving unemployment benefits now that traditionally did not receive them?

    Self-employed people, contract workers, and those with insufficient wages or work history generally are not eligible for regular UI benefits, but they are eligible for some CARES Act and pandemic-related programs. Others who traditionally don’t receive benefits but are receiving them now, for example, are people who were offered a job that was rescinded because of COVID-19-related layoffs and shutdowns.

  3. Are Oregon employers paying for these non-traditional workers’ unemployment benefits?

    No. When Congress passed the CARES Act, it created and fully funded the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) to help self-employed, contract workers, and those with insufficient wages or work history. Other CARES Act and pandemic-related programs created and paid by the federal government include:

    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): This program extends UI benefits up to 13 weeks and expires Dec. 26, 2020.
    • Extended Benefits (EB): This program extends benefits for 13-20 weeks during a high unemployment period. EB is fully funded by the federal government from March 19-Dec. 26, 2020 per the CARES Act. Otherwise, 50% of EB benefits are funded by the UI trust fund.
    • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC): This expired program provided an extra $600 weekly benefit to people receiving unemployment benefits from March 29 – July 25, 2020.
    • Work Share (Short-Term Compensation): This program offers businesses an alternative to layoffs. It uses UI to subsidize part of lost wages for employers whose work time is reduced due to market downturns or other business stressors. From March 19-Dec. 26, 2020, the federal government is reimbursing states for all Work Share benefits paid. Otherwise, Work Share benefits are funded by the UI trust fund.
    • Lost Wages Assistance (LWA): This expired program provided an extra $300 weekly benefit to people who were unemployed or underemployed due to COVID-19 from July 26-Sept. 5.


  4. What happens to the payroll taxes Oregon employers pay?

    Employer SUTA payroll taxes are placed in Oregon’s UI Trust Fund at the U.S. Treasury. These monies only can be used to pay UI benefits. Oregon legislators designed the UI tax system so the Trust Fund would have enough reserves to cover 18 months of UI benefit payments during a recession.

  5. How does the tax system that funds the UI Trust Fund work?

    Oregon’s tax structure is self-balancing and has two major parts. The first part is movement between eight tax schedules. When the tax schedule changes, all employers move to that tax schedule. For more information, read our fact sheet.

    The second part determines how an employer is assigned a tax rate within a schedule. Individual employer tax rates depend on their ‘experience rating’ or benefit ratio, which essentially measures the rate at which their employees have received UI benefits.

    When determining the 2021 tax rates, the period used is July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020. The period covering the COVID-19 pandemic accounts for only 8% of this time. Most of the benefits paid out in Oregon during this recession are federally funded and are not impacting employers’ experience rating.

  6. Do all employers pay the same tax rate?

    No. Individual employer tax rates depend on an employer’s ‘experience rating’ or benefit ratio.

    The benefit ratio is determined by dividing the UI benefits charged to the employer by the employer’s taxable payroll.

    Employers whose workers receive a higher percentage of UI benefits compared to the employer’s UI taxable payroll may have a higher tax rate.

    This is included in the statutory formula that Oregon law requires the Employment Department use to determine employer payroll tax rates for the upcoming year.Federal law requires all states to have at least some employers pay at least 5.4% in UI taxes each year. Oregon has only a small percentage of employers that pay that much and Oregon employers never pay more than 5.4%. In 40 other states, employers can pay more than 5.4% with one state having a maximum rate of 18.55%.

  7. We had to lay off a lot of people because of COVID-19. Will we face a huge hike in our payroll taxes because of the COVID-19-related recession?

    This recession has resulted in mass layoffs for some businesses and some employers are concerned that they will see a huge payroll tax increase when they can least afford it. Despite facing the highest unemployment rate in Oregon’s history, we anticipate Oregon only will move to the middle UI tax schedule – schedule 4 – for 2021. This is thanks to the UI Trust Fund formula which has served Oregon well for the last 45 years. It has kept Oregon solvent, and saved Oregon employers additional costs, through the Great Recession and is on track to remain solvent through the current recession.

    While this recession is having a big impact on employers right now, there are two reasons why we anticipate only a modest increase in Oregon’s payroll tax schedule. First, federally funded benefit programs are not being charged to employer accounts. Second, to determine payroll tax rates, the Employment Department reviews three years of UI benefits. That means this current recession covers only eight percent of the total time period that is used to determine your 2021 payroll tax rate.

    As of Oct. 22, 2020, 21 states have already borrowed a total of $38.4 billion. The amount of borrowing costs are being passed on to their employers and is expected to continue growing for some time. That will not be the case in Oregon. While employers in other states will see additional UI taxes and other costs, Oregon employers have saved $685 million in payroll taxes over the past decade through UI Trust Fund interest earnings.


  8. Employers are already dealing with the effects of the pandemic. Why can’t we just delay a payroll tax increase for this upcoming year?

    Oregon needs to make sure the UI Trust Fund has enough reserves to pay UI benefits if the recovery from the current recession is slow. Delaying a self-balancing increase to the tax schedule or to employer tax rates within a schedule, even for just one year, would:

    • Increase the risk of the UI Trust Fund going insolvent
    • Increase the risk of higher FUTA federal payroll taxes.

    This could lead to a higher tax schedule in future years. The primary reason Oregon’s UI Trust Fund remains healthy year after year is we don’t get behind in funding it and we stick the well designed, statutory self-balancing formula.

  9. Why do we need to have a reserve? Why can’t we borrow money like other states?

    If we have to borrow money to pay UI benefits, employers will have to pay borrowing costs along with their payroll tax. The federal government reduces the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) payroll tax credit for states that need to borrow to pay benefits. The reduction in the payroll tax credit rises each year that borrowed funds are not repaid in full. For example, some states and territories are still repaying their federal loans from the Great Recession and had a potential FUTA credit reduction of 3.7% in 2020.

    Also, when the Oregon UI Trust Fund has reserves, we earn interest on those monies. Over the last 10 years, Trust Fund interest added up to $685 million. That means 20% of the increase in the UI Trust Fund balance in the past 10 years came from interest earned on the Trust Fund—not employer payroll taxes. With Oregon’s payroll tax system, employers only had to pay 80 cents on the dollar for the benefits now being paid out. Due to Oregon’s self-balancing system, the more interest earned, the more likely we are to have a lower tax schedule.

    Oregon has a healthy trust fund, so Oregon employers only paid 80 cents on the dollar for benefits paid. States that borrow end up having to pay more than $1 for each dollar of benefits paid.

  10. I hear that a lot of states’ trust funds are insolvent. Is that going to happen to Oregon?

    Oregon’s UI Trust Fund weathered the Great Recession without the balance dropping below zero, even though we paid the most UI benefits in state history. During this same time, 36 states borrowed money from the federal government to pay UI benefits. Those states also faced interest charges and federal credit reductions, which resulted in higher payroll taxes and surcharges for employers.

    In March 2020, before the COVID-19-induced recession, Oregon’s UI Trust Fund balance was $5.1 billion. As of Oct. 21, our reserves are $4.1 billion. This positive balance stands in comparison to the 21 other states and territories that have borrowed $38.1 billion from the federal government to pay UI benefits*. Oregon has not borrowed any money and does not expect to do so.

  11. Why is Oregon’s UI Trust Fund so healthy when other states’ are not?

    Although there are federal requirements all states have to follow with their UI Trust Funds, states do have some flexibility in how they structure their taxes. Our UI Trust Fund is healthy because of the system used to fund it. In 1975, the Oregon State Legislature worked with business and labor groups to pass major reforms that put in place a self-balancing tax system. This model is the base of the system used today.

    During strong economic times, the tax schedule increases so we can replenish the UI Trust Fund. Once we have strong reserves, the tax schedule begins dropping. Also, each employer’s tax rate will adjust based on the rate their employees received UI benefits.

  12. How do UI benefits help my community?

    Besides providing financial support to laid-off workers, the fund helps communities by ensuring that money keeps flowing through the local economy during periods of economic downturn. During the current recession, Oregon’s UI Trust Fund has paid out $1.7 billion in regular UI benefits from April-September 2020. This is more than twice as high as the regular UI benefit payments during any two-calendar quarters from the Great Recession.

Taxes

  1. Are unemployment benefits taxable?

    Yes. You may choose to have 10% of your weekly benefit amount withheld for federal income taxes and/or 6% for state income taxes. Any taxes withheld are immediately transmitted to the Internal Revenue Service and the Oregon Department of Revenue. Changing your tax status requires a completed Authorization of Tax Withholding (1040WH) form. To download the Spanish version of this form, click here, or call the UI center to have one mailed to you.

  2. If I am no longer collecting unemployment benefits, how can I pay the tax due?

    You can make estimated tax payments at www.irs.gov/Form 1040-ES and/or increase your withholding once you have a new job. You can check your estimated withholding using the calculator at www.irs.gov/W4app. See www.irs.gov/payments for more payment options

  3. Can I have federal income tax withheld from my unemployment compensation?

    Yes, you can choose to have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment benefits by submitting a Form 84V, Voluntary Withholding Request, to your state’s unemployment office.

  4. How will I know how much unemployment compensation I received?

    If you received unemployment compensation during the year, you should receive Form 1099-G from your state’s unemployment office.

  5. How will unemployment compensation affect my tax return?

    If you do not have taxes withheld from your unemployment compensation, it could result in a tax liability.

  6. Do I have to report unemployment benefits on my federal income tax return?

    Yes, any unemployment compensation received during the year must be reported on your federal tax return.