Oregonians face ‘devastating’ end to unemployment benefits


Extended benefits end Dec. 13; Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs end Dec. 26

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Roughly 70,000 Oregonians are set to lose unemployment benefits as programs expire this month.

Due to a recent decline in Oregon’s unemployment rate, extended benefits will only be available for 13 weeks instead of 20 weeks starting Dec. 13. Those who have already received 13 weeks of benefits by that date will no longer receive payments.

Then the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance programs are due to expire on Dec. 26.

The impending conclusion of these programs will leave many who have relied upon them during the pandemic without a safety net.

“PUA has been the just-barely lifeline keeping things just a little bit afloat in this impossible time and that, plus the eviction moratorium, created a holding pattern, kind of,” an Oregonian named Nancy told KOIN 6 News. “So that goes away, there’s nothing.”

David is one of the 70,000 Oregonians who may lose his unemployment benefits soon, December 2, 2020 (KOIN)

David has also been receiving PUA benefits and doesn’t know what he’ll do after Christmas.

“It’s going to be devastating. I think that’s probably the easiest way to sum it up,” he said. “It’s going to be devastating for a lot of people, including me.”

Apply for benefits in Oregon

The Oregon Employment Department has said it can’t offer more benefits until new legislation is passed but Congress still hasn’t taken any action.

OED Acting Director David Gerstenfeld said they are having discussions with people at both the national and state levels. But Gerstenfeld added that while state lawmakers want to help people, they don’t want to start something that would further complicate an already over-burdened system if federal legislation is eventually passed.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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