As of April 9, the Oregon Employment Department (OED) has received 269,900 initial claims for unemployment benefits. By comparison, net job losses in Oregon totaled 147,800 for the duration of the Great Recession.
Workers laid off because of COVID-19 can receive unemployment benefits without actively seeking work with other employers, according to the Oregon Employment Department; they do need to stay actively engaged with their current employer and return to work when called back.
People who are under quarantine, as directed by a health care or government official qualify and so do people who can’t work because they have to take care of children; this can be due to school closures or lack of available childcare.
Thousands of Oregonians are now applying for unemployment and the system can’t keep up, even though the OED more than quadrupled the number of staff dedicated to taking claims.
According to the OED, those staff continue to process record numbers of claims week after week. The OED processed more claims during the first quarter of 2020 than the total for all of 2019.
According to a statement from OED, those who have completed their initial claim and continued to file weekly claims, their re-start error has been identified and fixed. If they tried yesterday (Sunday) and got the re-start error for the first time, they can re-try now and it should work. They should not need to contact OED for their claims to continue to work online.
For those who filed an initial claim, then didn’t file a weekly claim for a week, would get a re-start error and they need to re-start a claim.
They will not lose out on a week of benefits they were eligible to receive because of a difficulty either getting through on our phone, or because of an online claim error, according to OED.
Claim information can be submitted at OED_UI_Info@oregon.gov. OED officials say it will take at least a few days for someone to get respond. OED's unemployment insurance team will reach out and provide assistance, once contacted current and previous claims will be adjusted as needed.
The OED has created a web page dedicated specifically to COVID-19 resources and questions.
Even with these adjustments and changes, more than half of all calls that the OED receives in a day aren’t answered and nearly half of all filed claims have yet to be processed.