PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -- The Oregon Employment Department is beginning to pay out what's known as "waiting week" money.
A waiting week refers to the first-week people file for unemployment, and generally, you don't get benefits that week.
But that was waived because of the pandemic, and now those folks are actually getting the money.
It's a good chunk of change. $176 million is now headed to more than 240,000 Oregonians from the very first week they filed for unemployment. It should be in their hands within three days.
Tiffany Carter says she's one of those recipients and glad to see this money just in time for the holidays, especially during such a tough time of the pandemic when her Thanksgiving will be via zoom.
"I was gonna spend $100 or so dollars on Thanksgiving dinner to prepare for everybody. Now I'm not doing that, and I have a little extra money in the bank, so it's good," Carter said.
She worked as an executive assistant in finance, took a new job in February but then, for economic reasons, was let go in September when she first filed for unemployment.
"I honestly try not to think about it and try to look at hey, I do have this time, and thank goodness I do have unemployment right now, enough to pay all my bills long term? Probably not, ya know so, I've made some adjustments," she said.
Another 170,000 people will have to wait longer for those waiting week payments. The Oregon Employment Department says the payments have to be hand-processed and could take another month or two to receive depending on the situation.
Back in the spring, OED said waving the waiting week would require thousands of hours of programming and would delay processing record numbers of claims for benefits needed immediately.
On Monday, the acting director of OED said their IT and unemployment insurance teams have been working incredibly hard to make programming changes that allow for payments at this scale and thanked Oregonians for being patient.
If the waiting week payment applies to you, you don't need to do anything to get that money. It will automatically be processed.
According to the OED website, if you've exhausted all your benefits, then there will be no additional money from your claims to pay.
You can also find answers to specific questions and check the status of your claim on the OED website.