‘Can you live off 3 months of no income?’

Coronavirus

Oregon Employment Department still clearing backlog of claims

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Franklin Jeffers said he’s been waiting 9 weeks for unemployment benefits from the state of Oregon. Recently he found out his claim is more complex so it needs to go through an adjudication process.

“They’ve come out and said, hey, we know, we’re sorry, we’re this and this,” Jeffers told KOIN 6 News. “Here’s the real question: can you live off of three months of no income?”

Jeffers is not alone. There are a large number of people whose regular claim for benefits likely needs to be adjudicated.

Oregon Employment Department officials couldn’t say exactly howm many claims are stuck in this process but did say they’re working to track it.

Acting OED Director David Gerstenfeld said they are several weeks behind.

“We’re working to get through those adjudication claims as quickly as possible,” he said. “Right now it is taking up to 10 to 12 weeks for some of those to get fully resolved. We’re dedicated to doing everything we can to speed that up.”

If your claim needs to be adjudicated, calling OED won’t help. Each claim is assigned to a specific adjudicator — and they call you.

The agency is making progress getting through the backlog of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims. They processed more than 4300 PUA claims last week and hope to do another 7500 this week.

PUA claims benefit the self-employed or gig workers. OED officials said they’re still waiting for an answer from the Department of Labor whether or not people can deduct expenses from their gross earnings.

Jeffers has started an online petition to ask Gov. Kate Brown to streamline the unemployment benefits process. Click here to learn more.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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