PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of people are still waiting for unemployment benefits in Oregon and the employment department says a bill that could have helped speed things up was shot down during the legislature’s special session. Now, Oregon employment officials say they’re looking at other options.
The sheer volume of claims is still bogging down the process, especially for those stuck in the adjudication process which can take 12-16 weeks. Such is the case for Dottie Passmore.
Passmore was a teacher in the Beaverton School District but her contract wasn’t extended due to the pandemic. She applied for unemployment benefits in July and, like all school employees, her claim has to be adjudicated.
“It’s just disrespectful to have us wait this long for these benefits when they’re really needed,” Passmore said. “People have bills to pay and you shouldn’t have to wait three to four months to receive their unemployment benefits.”
A bill aimed at getting public and private education employees out of that adjudication process wasn’t passed by the Oregon legislature. The bill wouldn’t have directly impacted Passmore’s claim since teachers weren’t included. But the Oregon Employment Department says it would have sped up the process for thousands, which in turn would have freed up staff to work on the rest of the backlog.
OED officials report they’re now looking for other options to hasten the adjudication process.
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