New PUA application, new struggles for some OR filers

Coronavirus

The Oregon Employment Department reports it's on track to meet the Aug. 8 claims processing deadline

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Employment Department recently launched a new application to speed up the claims process but some people are still having trouble.

Tom Freedland applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits at the end of March. On Tuesday, he told KOIN 6 News his application is one of more than 44,000 that have yet to be processed.

“My frustration level is multi-layered,” said Freedland. “It’s a lot of juggling here and there; I’ve been late on my office rent a few times, my landlord has been I’d say understanding but it’s not fair to him and it just adds to the stress.”

The OED launched the new PUA application on July 17 in an effort to hasten the claims process for people like Freedland.

“If somebody already filed their initial PUA application, they do not need to refile that in the new Google application,” explained OED Acting Director David Gerstenfeld. “We are encouraging people to file any of their weekly claims that they haven’t been paid for in the new application.”

Freedland says he did just that — but received a message informing him to restart his claim.

Gerstenfeld said the OED is aware of the issue and is working to fix it.

“That’s an example of one of the situations where people would’ve had that restart message before once we keyed their weeks in,” he said. “It’s just that the work hadn’t even gotten that far along for them to see that issue yet.”

The acting director says people should be sure they’ve entered all weekly claims if they refile using the new application. He says skipping a week could cause the restart issue.

Despite some difficulties, Gerstenfeld believes the new application is helping speed up the process.

“We’re already seeing several weeks’ worth of work being done in an automated way that was taking our team of 60 people days and weeks to do,” he said.

The OED remains on track to finish processing the backlog of PUA claims by the Aug. 8 deadline, according to Gerstenfeld.

Still have questions? Use the “contact us” form on the OED’s new website.

Visit the new website

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