How to Apply for Unemployment in Oregon

by Elizabeth Aldrich | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on March 30, 2020

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Everything you need to know about qualifying and applying for unemployment benefits in Oregon.

Everything you need to know about qualifying and applying for unemployment benefits in Oregon.

If you've lost work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you're probably wondering what to do if the novel coronavirus has cut your income. Don't tap into your savings account just yet.

There are several possible sources of financial relief, including filing a claim for unemployment benefits in the state of Oregon. Both the government and individual states are altering some of the unemployment requirements in light of current circumstances. 

Here's what you need to know about applying for unemployment in Oregon right now.

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Oregon, you'll usually need to meet the following requirements:

  • You've worked in Oregon for the past 12 to 18 months.
  • You meet the minimum income threshold set out below.
  • You are unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • You are able and available to work, and you're actively seeking work for each week that you claim (see below).

Oregon has loosened the final requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic. You won't be considered "unable to work" or "unavailable to work" if you're quarantined, self-quarantining, caring for children who are out of school, or caring for a family member due to the novel coronavirus. You might also still qualify for unemployment if you're home sick or hospitalized with COVID-19, or if you choose to stay home to avoid risk of exposure.

Furthermore, you no longer have to be actively seeking work in order to qualify for unemployment insurance -- you simply have to be willing to look for work when social distancing and self-quarantining due to the novel coronavirus are no longer necessary.

To meet the minimum income requirements, you'll need to have earned at least $1,000 or worked 500 hours during the base year. Your total wages earned during that year must be at least 1.5 times your highest-earning quarter in that same period. The base year is defined as the first four of the last five quarters completed before applying for unemployment.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

You can apply for unemployment benefits by filing a claim with the State of Oregon Employment Department. You can also file a claim by calling 1-877-FILE-4-UI, but you should file online if you can due to high call volumes.

You will need to supply your personal information, such as your Social Security number or Alian Registration Number and phone number. You'll also be asked to provide employment information, including salary details, for all of your previous employers during the past two years, and show that you're unemployed through no fault of your own.

After you've filed your initial claim you must submit a weekly benefit claim, beginning on the Sunday after you submit your application -- even if your application is still being processed.

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits?

Your benefit amount will depend on your work record and wages during the base period specified above. The minimum unemployment benefit in Oregon is $122 per week and the maximum is $524 per week. You can use Oregon's unemployment insurance estimator to get a sense of how much you might qualify for.

The government has just passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This stimulus bill will give an additional $600 per week to anyone eligible for unemployment insurance through to July 31.

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?

Typically, you're able to collect up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits within a time period of up to 52 weeks. However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If you're denied, you'll receive a written statement that includes the reason for your denial. You can file an appeal, but you must file it within 20 days of the mailing date and continue to claim benefits each week that the appeal is being processed. 

Many people are losing their jobs due to the pandemic, but there are also some jobs that are in demand because of COVID-19. You may be facing some difficult financial decisions, but don't give up hope, and don't be afraid to seek financial assistance.

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