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Statement from Oregon Employment Department Acting Director David Gerstenfeld on Lost Wages Assistance program

The Oregon Employment Department is applying for the federal Lost Wages Assistance program. These benefits amount to $300 per week for an estimated three to five weeks.

“While well-intended, this program does not meet the needs of unemployed Oregonians. We need Congress to pass a much more robust program to give Oregonians the help they need and deserve in this pandemic,” said the Employment Department’s Acting Director, David Gerstenfeld. “While this program does not provide enough support, the Employment Department is committed to getting all assistance possible to Oregonians.”

The Employment Department is in the process of applying for the grant, which has a deadline of September 10, 2020. The program is being administered through the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

The Employment Department is working quickly to move forward with this temporary measure. The agency will have an estimate of when payments to Oregonians could start after the application is approved by the federal government. Meanwhile, many significant issues need to be resolved, including how how much state money may be required for FEMA to provide these benefits.

Once payments can begin, they will be given automatically and retroactively, going back to the week ending August 1, for each week someone received other unemployment benefits. For some people, no further information will be needed; federal requirements mean the Employment Department will have to get a certification from some others. The Employment Department will share more information about the timing and process as it becomes available. Regular updates are available at, and through the agency’s Twitter and Facebook pages.