Email to 6K Oregonians: ‘Reached final week of PUA benefits’

Coronavirus

OED urges people to keep filing every week

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — This week about 6000 people received an email from the Oregon Employment Department: “You have reached your final week of PUA benefits.”

Until Congress passes the next relief bill, people who got that email are out of unemployment benefits. Across the country, about 11.4 million people could lose unemployment insurance benefits if Congress doesn’t approve President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

It came down to the wire in December 2020 before Congress acted and it looks like it will nudge up against the March 14 deadline.

One of the people anxiously awaiting a move from Congress is small business owner Sheila Neuman, who said it’s frustrating to be back in this same position again.

“For my business I’m lucky enough to have enough money set aside to have carried myself through this time, but I’m down to the wire,” Neuman said. “I have credit card debt now.”

Even if you’re out of benefits, OED officials say to keep filing every week.

The last relief bill extended unemployment benefit programs through March 13. After that, some may be eligible for a phase-out period through April.

You have to file for the week ending March 13 and be paid for that week.

Even if Congress were to pass the relief bill right now, there will likely be a gap in benefits for people. OED said it takes time to implement any changes, no matter how simple they may seem.

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