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Oregon Unemployment Benefits

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Unemployment in Oregon is an obstacle faced by local workers on a daily basis. To assist employees through this professional and personal transition, the state offers unemployment insurance (UI) to qualified candidates. Also referred to as unemployment compensation (UC), this public support program provides eligible petitioners and their families with monetary stipends while the enrollees search for new work opportunities. While UI only serves as a temporary solution to joblessness, the program does provide beneficiaries with critical support during this unstable time in their lives.

The Oregon Unemployment Department (OED) is tasked with managing this program. The OED is also responsible for determining the state’s eligibility for unemployment requirements and for evaluating all applications. The sections below provide information regarding how claimants may apply for this program, as well as the information they must submit. Additional sections provided explain how claimants can prepare for their UC interviews and what steps they can take if the OED denies their initial petitions.

What is unemployment in Oregon?

The Oregon unemployment program provides short-term relief to candidates who have recently lost their jobs. To qualify for these monetary benefits, candidates must be out of work due to circumstances they could not control. While this is an important criterion regarding whether or not petitioners may receive unemployment insurance, it is not the only factor. OED will also evaluate claimants’ recent earned income and other important information, such as whether or not candidates are physically able to work.

A petitioner’s unemployment claim is valid for one calendar year after he or she completes the application. However, candidates must remember this does not mean they are eligible to receive UC funds for 52 weeks. Since unemployment insurance benefits are only intended to serve as an interim solution to joblessness, enrollees may only receive benefits for a limited period of time. Each state is responsible for setting their maximum enrollment periods for UC. In Oregon, candidates may only receive unemployment benefits for 26 weeks or less during a year-long period. The state also imposes maximums on the amount of money beneficiaries may receive during that time. Throughout the state, the maximum weekly benefit amount (WBA) UC enrollees may receive is $604.

What are the requirements to get unemployment in Oregon?

Eligibility for unemployment requirements address various factors in petitioners’ applications. When figuring out what are the requirements to get unemployment in Oregon, the OED first examines claimants’ recent financial earnings during their base periods. The base periods consist of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters, which total a 12-month period when added together. To meet the financial unemployment insurance eligibility requirements, claimants must fall into one of two categories:

  • Candidates must have earned at least $1,000 tax-subject wages throughout their base period years. In addition, petitioners’ total base period wages must be greater than or equal to 1.5 times the wages they earned in their highest quarters.
  • Applicants must have worked at least 500 hours during their base periods and a portion of their earnings must have been subject wages.

One of these financial requirements for unemployment must be met by petitioners to receive benefits. Once applicants are deemed eligible for UC by meeting one of these prerequisites, they must then be sure to fulfill the program’s additional stipulations. These requirements are as follows:

  • Unemployed through no fault of their own: To receive UC, petitioners must have played no role in their own job losses. In most cases, enrollees satisfy this requirement because they have been laid off due to work shortages or because their places of employment closed. However, candidates are disqualified from the program if they quit their jobs for personal reasons, such as not liking their bosses. Furthermore, claimants who are fired because of deliberate workplace misconduct are also not eligible to receive UC.
  • Actively searching for work: Since UI benefits may only provide temporary relief to unemployed workers, candidates must be proactively steering their reemployment efforts. Beneficiaries must be searching for job opportunities so they can support themselves once they have exhausted their UC funds.
  • Available to work full-time jobs: One of the qualifications for unemployment benefits is that beneficiaries must prove they are able to work. This requirement encompasses two aspects. First, petitioners must be physically able to work. They cannot have any bodily limitations that prevent them from working full-time. Second, claimants must have access to reliable transportation and schedules that permit them to work during typical hours for their industries. Therefore, candidates who have home care responsibilities to either children or elders usually do not qualify for UC. Similarly, applicants who do not have access to transportation may not receive UI benefits either.

How can I sign up for unemployment in Oregon?

Whether wondering how to apply for unemployment online or over the phone, petitioners must remember they are obligated to include specific information in their UI applications. First, candidates are required to submit personal identification, such as their Social Security Numbers. In addition, petitioners who apply for unemployment benefits must include summaries of their work history. This information must extend back at least 18 months and claimants must include the following facts:

  • Employers’ names.
  • Company phone numbers and addresses.
  • Dates of employment.
  • Income earned at these businesses.

After petitioners file for an unemployment claim, they receive Wage and Potential Benefit Reports. Once this document arrives, applicants know their claims have been processed. These documents show what wages the OED is using to calculate candidates’ WBAs. Petitioners are responsible for reviewing these papers and alerting the department if any of the information is inaccurate. This step in the unemployment registration process is critical because candidates are responsible for reimbursing the OED any overpayment they receive. However, candidates must also remember there are certain forms of income that will not automatically populate on their reports. Examples of these include income earned:

  • In another state.
  • Through service with the United States military.
  • As payment for work with the federal government.

How do I prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Oregon?

Petitioners may need to prepare for the unemployment insurance interview in Oregon after submitting their claims to the department but these conversations are not always required. However, they are common and do not indicate that the OED will deny applicants’ claims. An unemployment phone interview is necessary when the OED has unresolved questions regarding candidates’ applications.

Sometimes these questions arise because petitioners left portions of their petitions blank. In other circumstances, claimants may need to participate in a UC interview because the OED has questions about why petitioners are no longer employed. For these situations, an unemployment interview with the employer may be required by the OED as well. However, the state always conducts these conversations separately from the petitioners’ interviews.

In either case, the questions asked during the unemployment interview are generally straightforward. To prepare for these conversations, applicants must focus on having their facts in order. The OED representatives are only interested in extracting truthful information from these conversations. As a result, candidates who provide negative opinions or commentary about their job losses are not helping to support their cases. The unemployment interview with the claimant is an important step in the UC application process. Candidates must prepare by having relevant information on hand. It helps OED representatives if claimants organize their work start and end dates, as well as information relating to their incomes. Similarly, petitioners should have copies of their contracts, employee handbooks and any written warnings or relevant correspondence they exchanged with their employers on-hand during interviews.

How do I claim unemployment benefits in Oregon?

Petitioners are required to claim unemployment benefits in Oregon each week they enrolled in the program. Candidates who are deemed eligible for UC are not guaranteed to receive payment simply because they were accepted into the program. Instead, these enrollees must maintain their unemployment benefits claim by vouching for themselves each week they are given funds. Recipients have the option of filing their weekly claims over the phone or online. In either case, beneficiaries must attest to the following:

  • Job offers: Candidates must disclose whether or not they were offered any jobs during the weeks they are claiming benefits. If petitioners rejected any offers, they must explain why. The OED sends applicants job referrals. Claimants who fail to act on these referrals must report this information as well.
  • Travel: Applicants are required to state whether or not they were away from home for three days or more during the weeks they are claiming.
  • Work availability: Enrollees need to recertify each week that they are able to work full-time. In particular, petitioners must report if they had any scheduling conflicts that would have prevented them from working full-time during the weeks they claim. Beneficiaries must report if they had any transportation issues, home obligations or were incarcerated during the weeks they are requesting payment.
  • Payment and income: Program participants must report any wages they earned during their UC claim weeks. This includes hourly income, salary, tips and commission. Similarly, enrollees are required to disclose any stipends or alternative payment they received. As a result, candidates must attest for any pension, unused vacation or sick time payments they received. Furthermore, enrollees who are paid with meals or housing must report this reimbursement as well.

How do I maintain UC benefits?

When claiming benefits for unemployment, applicants must also report their work search efforts. This stipulation is in place to help ensure candidates can support themselves once they have fully exhausted their UI benefits. To maintain a UC benefits claim, petitioners must contact at least two employers. When reporting this task, petitioners must disclose who they contacted, how they reached out, when they made contact, which positions they applied for and whether or not any action resulted from these inquiries. To claim UI benefits, petitioners must also report on three relevant work search activities they completed during the weeks they claim. Examples of acceptable activities include:

  • Participating in job fairs or similar networking events.
  • Updating or editing their resumes.
  • Searching for job openings.

What do I do if I am denied unemployment benefits in Oregon?

Petitioners who are denied unemployment in Oregon through an administrative decision may request to appeal these determinations. Similarly, employers who feel as if they are issued unfair decisions may submit appeals as well. Either party has 20 days from when the hearings were mailed to file their reconsideration petitions. To request an unemployment denial appeal, petitioners must submit their requests:

  • Through the mail.
  • A secure email.
  • Via fax.
  • By telephone.

When submitting their denied unemployment benefits appeals, candidates must include their Social Security Numbers or Customer Identification Numbers (CIDs) in their petitions. In addition, applicants must also report their administrative decision numbers and the dates their determinations were mailed. During the hearing, the presiding administrative law judges (ALJs) will hear new evidence and statements from witnesses. Afterward, they issue their determinations. These decisions are usually mailed within two weeks from when the hearings concluded.

How can I apply for a federal unemployment extension in Oregon?

Congress is responsible for authorizing a federal unemployment extension in Oregon or anywhere else in the country. When an unemployment benefits extension is available, program recipients are eligible to collect UC funds beyond the state’s maximum weekly limit for a calendar year. However, an unemployment extension is not commonly offered. As a result, enrollees who are about to exhaust their benefits should not expect for a UC extension to become available before their funds expire.

How do I contact the Oregon unemployment office?

Petitioners and their employers may contact the Oregon unemployment office by phone or by visiting locations in person. The UI unemployment office offers a toll-free number that candidates may call. In addition, applicants may visit the Salem unemployment insurance office during business hours at:

875 Union Street NE

Salem, Oregon 97311


When should I file my unemployment claim in Oregon?

You should not wait to file your unemployment claim in any state. It is in your best interest to file for unemployment insurance as soon as possible. You will not get any credit for the time between the day you lost your job and the day you actually file for benefits. Also, backdating an unemployment application is not allowed.

What is a waiting week?

When you first file for unemployment, the first week after your application has been received is typically known as a waiting week. That week is usually not a paid week because the department is still processing your application and evaluating whether or not you qualify for benefits.

When can I expect to receive my first payment?

In the state of Oregon, you can usually expect to receive your first unemployment payment by the third week after you have filed your claim. Keep in mind that the state does not take into consideration the day you lost your job. Instead, the days you are paid depends on the day you file your claim.

What is a Reliacard?

In the state of Oregon, your benefits are sent to you through an electronic bank card called the Reliacard. This card works in the same way a debit card works and is a safer, more efficient way of distributing benefits.

Oregon Unemployment Office Locations