Beginning Dec. 13, the Oregon Employment Department has announced that its Extended Benefits program will be reduced, from up to 20 weeks of benefits to up to 13 weeks.
Extended Benefits provides extended unemployment insurance benefits during times of high unemployment rates in the state. According to a news release from the department, based on federal guidelines, if the average unemployment rate in the state is below 8% but above 6.5%, then up to 13 weeks of additional benefits are available. If the average unemployment rate is above 8%, the number of additional weeks of benefits increases to 20. Oregon’s rate is now below 8%.
“We know the benefit extension has been a critical safety net for many Oregonians, and this reduction in available benefits will be painful,” said David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department, in a statement. “We are calling on our federal elected leaders to help Oregonians and pass legislation that will allow us to quickly provide benefits to those still facing hardships. We stand ready to implement any new or continued benefit programs as quickly as possible, so that Oregonians are able to make ends meet while the pandemic continues to spread.”
Some Oregonians who have already received 13 weeks of EB may be able to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits before that program expires on Dec. 26, 2020. Oregonians can apply for PUA through the employment department’s online claims system.
Other COVID-19 help is also set to expire soon, including Oregon’s moratorium on evictions, which will expire at the end of 2020.
unless the Oregon Legislature holds a special session in December to extend it.