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The Oregon Employment Department has a new means to contact unemployment 

Effective December 22nd, Congress has passed a second Economic Stimulus Package that extends CARES Act unemployment provisions.  The bill was signed into law on 12/27. This Act extends unemployment benefits:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: PUA has been extended from 39 weeks to 50 weeks. It is unclear how this change will impact the state extension of PUA. 
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation: PEUC has an 11 week extension
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation: FPUC brings back an extra $300 a week benefit to all claims from December 27th through March 13th
  • MEUC: a new program adding $100 benefit to mixed earners who receive income both from a W2 employer and from self employment. This program is not expected to be ready until March, but will pay benefits retroactively.

As the state works to implement these changes, PLEASE KEEP FILING YOUR WEEKLY CLAIM, benefits will be paid retroactively. These programs will end March 14th, however people already on unemployment may continue to draw on the additional benefit through April 10. 

Scenarios- this is not an exhaustive list:

1. If currently on Extended Benefits, you will continue on EB. If EB is exhausted before March 13, you will automatically be rolled into PEUC.   

2. If currently receiving PEUC the extension will be automatic

3. If someone has exhausted their UI, their previous PEUC and is now on PUA benefits, they need to go back and reopen their PEUC claim and collect the new additional weeks of PEUC benefits.
4. If currently on PUA, the extension will be automatic
5. If someone has exhausted their PUA benefit, they should reopen their claim to receive these additional weeks of benefit
6. If someone has exhausted all their benefits, keep filing weekly claims. These programs will be applied, although it might take longer, it will be paid retroactively.

The CARES Act provides guidelines for unemployment benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes temporary rules for unemployment, PUA, PEUC benefit extension and the ability to significantly back date claims.  The CARES allows for for regular unemployment benefits to be backdated to March 15 and for PUA benefits back to February 2; this includes back pay for FPUC (the temporary extra $600 a week).  In order to back date regular unemployment benefits that far, you must call and speak to a representative. 

If you need to restart a claim due to the two week freeze, please review How to Restart your Unemployment Claim.

In light of COVID-19, several new forms of unemployment are available, including:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: For workers who are not eligible for traditional state unemployment insurance benefits, pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) is available. Those eligible for PUA include self-employed workers, freelancers, people seeking part-time work, and those who do not have a long-enough work history to qualify for state unemployment benefits. Workers are not eligible for PUA if they can either telework with pay or are receiving paid sick days or paid leave. Undocumented workers will not qualify.

Applicants will need to provide self-certification that they are (1) partially or fully unemployed, OR (2) unable and unavailable to work because of one of the following circumstances:

    • They have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have symptoms of it and are seeking diagnosis

    • A member of their household has been diagnosed with COVID-19

    • They are providing care for someone diagnosed with COVID-19

    • They are providing care for a child or other household member who can’t attend school or work because it is closed due to COVID-19

    • They are quarantined or have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine

    • They were scheduled to start employment and do not have a job or cannot reach their place of employment as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak

    • They have become the breadwinner for a household because the head of household has died as a direct result of COVID-19

    • They had to quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19

    • Their place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation may be able to extend your benefits by up to 13 weeks.  This type of unemployment is available to people who have a regular unemployment claim that has $0 balance in unemployment or whose claim has expired.  PEUC is separate from extended benefits and must be used prior to extended benefits.  This benefit is not available on PUA claims. PEUC claims cannot be accepted until AFTER your claim has run out of benefit or expired.  The PEUC benefit will be the same amount as your regular unemployment and should include any extra federal monies approved during your claim period (for example, the extra $600 PUC from the federal government).  Click here to learn more or apply.

Lost Wages Assistance: This benefit marks unemployment benefits for an additional $300 a week for those unemployed due to COVID-19  from July 26, 2020 through Sept 5, 2020.  To receive the benefit you must self-certify.  Individuals receiving PUA will not need to certify as that was already a condition of their form of unemployment. You can self-certify using the Online Claim System.  Scroll down to Lost Wages Assistance.  You only need to certify once and continue filing your weekly claims. 

For more information about unemployment in Oregon, visit the Employment Department's COVID-19 web page.

See the Employment's Department's chart of Scenarios and Benefits

This article has information on The Best Way to Reach Oregon’s Employment Department.

If you would like assistance finding unemployment resources, contact us.