PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — People who qualified for the Lost Wages Assistance Program began getting the extra $300 federal benefit through the Oregon Employment Department on Wednesday, but if you haven’t gotten yours yet, there are some steps you need to take.
You’re eligible for the extra $300 a week if you were receiving benefits between July 26 and September 5. OED officials said nearly 148,000 people were paid earlier in the day.
If you get benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program (PUA) you do not need to self-certify.
You do need to self-certify if you receive regular unemployment benefits, extended benefits, or PEUC (Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation), you need to go online. Look for the Lost Wages Assistance button on the online claim system. Until you do that, you can’t get paid.
“Our best estimate as to the number of people who have not yet received the payments but who may be eligible is about 87,000 people,” said OED Acting Director David Gerstenfeld. “That’s a really rough estimate.”
But about 49,000 claims continue to be stuck in the adjudication process still waiting for their initial benefits.
Gerstenfeld said OED is still on track to start paying people for the waiting week by the end of November.
There are some people who have run out of unemployment benefits but OED officials said the vast majority of people are still covered.
The PUA program now covers 46 weeks instead of 39. And because of the high unemployment rate, there is now an Extended Benefits Program as well.
“We do still have several extension programs in place and the PUA program even for people that filed and were eligible for benefits the very first effective week, they’re not out of benefits yet. There’s still some time,” Gerstenfeld said.
It doesn’t get easier, though. As we near the end of the year, many of these federal programs are about to run out — and there is nothing set up yet to replace them.
“So even for people who haven’t received 46 weeks of benefits, the PUA program will not be able to pay benefits for the time period after December 26 unless there’s further Congressional action,” he said.
But he added there are still a lot of unknowns as they try to prepare for what’s next.