Hundreds must return unemployment payments amid new lockdown

Coronavirus

The Oregon Employment Department is bracing for a fresh wave of unemployment claims

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Employment Department is bracing for a second wave of unemployment claims as businesses shut down once again.

Many people are still waiting to receive unemployment benefits nine months into the pandemic. Thousands of claims are still stuck in the adjudication process while some people have even been asked to pay back some of their benefits.

David Katz was a professor at Concordia University until it permanently closed in the spring. Katz applied for and received regular unemployment benefits but the payments stopped after a few weeks. He was told his claim needed to be adjudicated before he could receive any more money.

Now, months later, Katz has been told to return some of those initial payments and he doesn’t understand why.

“But to go back and ask us for money from the beginning because that was already approved based on the condition at that time — I don’t understand how what happened three months later is applying to what happened prior,” Katz told KOIN 6 News.

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Katz plans to file an appeal. He’s one of 1,500 people who owe money, according to the employment department.

The OED is also bracing to receive thousands of new claims as a result of the new shutdown and has a group of people solely focused on handling the influx to avoid bogging down the adjudication system. People who previously filed claims will need to restart their claims online. For first-time filers, the OED suggests completing the online eligibility quiz before applying.

Employment officials also said they also hope to deliver “Waiting Week” payments before Thanksgiving.

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