More staff added to slash PUA backlog

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State aims to process 5,000 claims this week

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Employment Department said it has been devoting more resources to process Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims faster.

New moves by the agency include hiring more than 200 people solely to help chip away at the backlog of claims from self-employed workers, contract workers, freelance workers and other gig-based situations.

The PUA program is also working with Google to create a new web-based application with a launch goal of early July.

The state aims to have processed 5,000 new claims by the end of this week; 7,500 the following week; and more with each following week, according to Director David Gerstenfeld. Gerstenfeld said the ultimate goal is to process all remaining 70,000 remaining PUA claims by August 8.

“This is an aggressive goal,” he said. “But, we know how much people are relying on us to get them their benefits. So, we’re putting a huge effort into getting the most benefits to the most Oregonians in the quickest way possible.”

Those in the PUA program make up the biggest group of people who have yet to receive benefits, according to OED.

Get more information on Oregon’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program here.

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