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Glossary of Terms

For more detailed information, visit our Frequently Asked Questions.

Able to work: You are mentally and physically able to work.

Actively looking for work: You made direct contact with at least two employers during the week or you completed at least three work-seeking activities during the week. Examples of activities to show that you are seeking work include looking at job announcements, using job search tools online, attending a career fair, or taking a class to further your interview skills.

Adjudication: This is an additional review process that’s required in certain cases to determine if someone is eligible for benefits. When OED becomes aware of issues that call into question whether someone can receive benefits, we are legally required to look into it. While many issues can be resolved with quick follow up questions, many times it requires a more thorough review through an adjudication process. Learn more at unemployment.oregon.gov/workers/adjudication.

ARP: The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) is a federal benefit package that extends some Continued Assistance Act benefit programs from March 14, 2021, through Sept. 4, 2021. The ARP extends the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefit programs through Sept. 4, 2021.

Available to work: You are able to work without restrictions that would prevent you from accepting work (for example: transportation issues, illness, vacations, or lack of family/childcare).

Base year: Your base year is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the week you file your initial claim.

  • If you file your initial claim in January, February, or March 2021, your base year is Oct. 1, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2020.
  • If you file your initial claim in April, May, or June 2021, your base year is Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2020.
  • If you file your initial claim in July, August, or September 2021, your base year is April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021.
  • If you file your initial claim in October, November, or December 2021, your base year is July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

CAA: The Continued Assistance Act (CAA) is a federal benefit package from December 2020 that provided up to 11 additional weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits, up to 11 additional weeks of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and required additional changes to COVID-related federal benefit programs. The CAA also introduced a benefit program, Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), for hybrid earners, or people who earned both W-2 wages and self-employment income.

CARES Act: The CARES Act is a federal benefit package, signed March 27, 2020. It allowed more people to get unemployment benefits than ever before, especially people affected by COVID-19. This law created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Pandemic Employment Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).

Extended benefits, High extended benefits: Extended Benefits (EB) is a program that extends regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits when a state is at high unemployment. The average unemployment rate is federally reviewed over a three-month period to determine if the state goes onto this extension. When that rate is 8% or higher, we are in HEB, and up to 20 additional weeks of benefits are provided. If it is below 8% but above 6.5%, then we are in EB, which provides up to 13 weeks of additional benefits.

Exhausted claim: Your claim is exhausted when you've reached a $0 balance and no more funds are available for you from that benefit program.

Expired claim: Regular unemployment insurance (UI) claims expire after 52 weeks. That means you cannot claim any more weeks of benefits after your claim has expired, even if there is a positive balance in your account. You will need to file a new claim. Learn more at unemployment.oregon.gov/expiredclaims.

FPUC: Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). Everyone getting any type of unemployment benefits got an extra $600 per week from March 29, 2020 through July 25, 2020 under the CARES Act. The Continued Assistance Act (CAA) and American Rescue Plan (ARP) continued the FPUC benefit at $300 per week from Dec. 27, 2020 through Sept. 4, 2021.

Fraud: Unemployment insurance fraud occurs when someone provides wrong information or withholds facts on purpose so they can get benefits. If you hide or report wrong information on purpose, that is fraud. FRAUD IS A CRIME and can result in penalties up to and including criminal prosecution. Learn more at unemployment.oregon.gov/idtheft-and-ui-fraud.

Gross earnings: These are your earnings before expenses, taxes, or any other deductions have been taken out. Gross earnings should be higher than net earnings.

Hybrid worker: People who earn both W-2 wages and self-employment income are hybrid workers. Learn more about benefits for hybrid workers in our MEUC FAQs.

Identity theft: Impostors are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to file claims for unemployment benefits using names and personal information that they have illegally purchased or stolen in an online data breach. This is a form of identity theft. Oregonians learn about the fraud when they get a notice from OED 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. Learn more at unemployment.oregon.gov/idtheft-and-ui-fraud.

Identity verification: To prevent fraudsters from committing unemployment identity theft, we have made our security and ID verification process even stronger. Before we share information about your claim, if you submitted a ticket through our Contact Us system, we need to make sure you’re you, and not someone pretending to be you. We’re also partnering with ID.me, a company specializing in digital identity protection. If you receive an email from ID.me, you must complete the verification process to continue receiving benefits. Learn more at unemployment.oregon.gov/idtheft-and-ui-fraud.

iMatchSkills: This is the Employment Department’s online job-matching tool. It uses your skills and work history to find potential work. The more details you supply, the better iMatchSkills can help you. Register at imatchskills.org.

Initial claim: To find out if you qualify for unemployment benefits, you need to fill out an application. This is called filing an initial claim. You only file an initial claim once per benefit year.

LWA: Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) was a temporary emergency program that gave an additional $300 per week to people out of work due to COVID-19 and receiving unemployment benefits. LWA benefits were available July 26, 2020 through Sept. 5, 2020.

MEUC: Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) is a new program created by the Continued Assistance Act (CAA). It provides “hybrid workers” an additional $100 weekly benefit. A “hybrid worker” is someone who earns W-2 AND self-employment income. To learn more or apply, visit employment.oregon.gov/ocs and click on the green “Mixed Earner Unemployment (MEUC)” button.

Net earnings: Your net earnings are your total earnings minus expenses. Net earnings should be lower than gross earnings.

OCS: This is the Employment Department’s Online Claim System (OCS) which can be found at Employment.Oregon.gov/ocs. You can use the OCS to:

  • Claim a week of benefits
  • Find the status of your claim and weekly reports
  • Restart your claim
  • File a new claim
  • Change your address
  • Apply for electronic deposit
  • Change/reset your pin
  • Make a payment
  • Look into benefit payment options
  • Access your 1099G tax forms

OED: The Oregon Employment Department (OED) is a state workforce agency. We promote employment of Oregonians through developing a diversified, multi-skilled workforce, and provide support during periods of unemployment. Learn more at oregon.gov/employ/Agency/Pages/About-Us.aspx.

Overpayment: An overpayment happens when you were paid benefits that you were not eligible for. Some overpayments happen when people give 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 new information.

When there are overpayments, we have a legal obligation to try to recover them. If you did not cause the overpayment, we normally ‘offset’ that debt by deducting the amount of money owed from any future benefits you are eligible for. Because of the pandemic, we are drastically reducing our collection of overpayments. The U.S. Department of Labor now allows us to waive some overpayments if the overpayment was not your fault and repaying it would be an unreasonable hardship for you.

PEUC: Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is a benefit extension program for people who have run out of their regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. It was initially created by the CARES Act. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) allows a person to receive a total of 53 weeks of PEUC benefits or until the week ending Sept. 4, 2021.

PPP: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a federal loan designed to encourage small businesses to keep their workers on payroll. Borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness. Read our PPP FAQs to learn more.

Proof of employment (POE): To qualify for PUA, the U.S. Dept. of Labor requires you to submit proof of employment. Use this interactive tool to find out what kinds of documents you need to submit.

PUA: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a federal unemployment benefit program created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is for people who are self-employed, contract workers, and other workers who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits. You can get up to 79 weeks of PUA until Sept. 4, 2021.

Reasonable assurance: For educators, you may be eligible to get benefits during a school recess period if you have not been given “reasonable assurance” that you will return after the break. Generally, reasonable assurance means you have an offer of work in the same or similar capacity with the same rate of pay (or within 90%). The offer can be in writing, verbal, or implied. However, we must review your claim to make that determination. Read our school FAQs to learn more.

Retroactive pay: Benefits owed to a worker from a claim filed at an earlier time.

Self-employed: If you are working for oneself rather than an employer, you are self-employed.

TUI: The Training Unemployment Insurance (TUI) program lets eligible dislocated workers attend school and receive regular Unemployment Insurance benefits at the same time so they can continue to care for their families and obtain employment. The program does not pay for the training itself, but instead removes the work search requirements from your weekly claims while you attend school full-time. Learn more at oregon.gov/employ/Unemployment/Pages/TUI.aspx

UI: Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits replace part of your lost income when you become unemployed. It is not public assistance. Employers fund the UI program. UI taxes are not withheld from employee paychecks.

Unemployed: Generally, you’re considered unemployed any week you work fewer than 40 hours and earn less than your weekly benefit amount (WBA). However, new laws in 2020 and 2021 temporarily removed the condition that you could not earn more than your WBA and clarified that you are considered “unemployed” in any week during which you perform no services or have less than full-time work from Sept. 6, 2020 through Jan. 1, 2022. Learn more in our Working While Claiming FAQs.

U.S. Bank ReliaCard: The Employment Department pays benefits electronically either by a U.S. Bank ReliaCard® Visa® debit card or direct deposit. If you don’t apply for direct deposit, you will be sent a ReliaCard.

Waiting week: The waiting week is the first week you file a weekly claim and meet all eligibility requirements. Before you can start receiving benefits, Oregon law requires one waiting week per claim. You won’t be paid any money for the week, but claiming the week is required to receive credit for it as a waiting week. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are waiving the waiting week until Sept. 4, 2021. This means that everyone who files a new claim until Sept. 4, 2021 will be paid for this first week.

WBA: Your weekly benefit amount (WBA) 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. 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 $157 per week. The maximum is $673 per week. (For new initial claims filed July 4, 2021 or later, the minimum is $171 and the maximum is $733).

Weekly claim: To start getting unemployment benefits, you need to file a weekly claim. This is different from the initial claim. You have to file both to get your money. A weekly claim is how we figure out how much money to send you for that week. You can’t submit a weekly claim until the week is over. At OED, a week starts on a Sunday and ends on a Saturday. (You may see us refer to “week-ending” dates.)

To keep getting benefits, you need to file a weekly claim every week. File a weekly claim even if you worked that week. You need to report your hours and earnings for any work you did that week.

File your weekly claims even if you don’t know if your application has been approved yet. It may take up to two 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. Your first payment will be a paper check.

Work Share: The Work Share 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 regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to make up for the lost wages. Learn more about Work Share.

WorkSource Center: The local WorkSource office in your area, where you can get free employment services and training resources. Find your local WorkSource Center.

WorkSource Oregon: WorkSource Oregon connects job seekers with thousands of available jobs and training opportunities and connects employers with qualified candidates. Services are free. WorkSource Oregon offers the following services:

  • Job referrals
  • Workshops covering subjects like interview preparation, resume writing, and basic computer knowledge
  • Career planning
  • Education and training opportunities with scholarship help

1099G: 1099G is a tax form sent to people who got unemployment insurance benefits. You use it when you are filing federal and state income taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Oregon Department of Revenue. You can download yours in the Online Claim System at employment.oregon.gov/ocs.