Starting April 28th, the Oregon Employment Department is providing unemployment benefits through the CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). In preparation, the agency has recruited and trained staff to process PUA claims.
Oregonians who are eligible for this program include individuals who do not qualify for or cannot collect benefits on a regular unemployment insurance claim. This includes Oregonians who:
– are self-employed and not subject to unemployment insurance tax;
– perform work as an independent contractor;
– perform work not subject to unemployment insurance tax, such as agricultural workers;
– did not earn enough in wages or work enough hours to qualify for regular unemployment benefits;
– exhausted regular unemployment benefits, and are not eligible for another extension.
In addition, to be eligible, you must be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable and unavailable for work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Covered situations include individuals who:
– are directly caring for a member of the household diagnosed with COVID-19;
– have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are seeking a medical diagnosis for COVID-19;
– are unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
– are primary caregivers for a child or person in the household who is unable to attend school or another facility
– closed due to COVID-19, and that attendance is required for their work;
– were scheduled to start a new job and were unable to because the business closed as a direct result of COVID-19 public health emergency; or
– owned or worked for a business that closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal law provides that PUA benefits are retroactive to the first week a worker was impacted by a qualifying COVID-19 reason, potentially from the week starting February 2, 2020 through the week ending December 26, 2020. The PUA process can take as little as one week or several weeks, depending on the claim complexity.
How to Apply
Please access the PUA application and certification forms on the CARES Act section of the Employment Department’s COVID-19 web page. There are three ways to start a new application for PUA benefits.
E-mail: You can email OED_PUA_INFO@oregon.gov to request a secure email link, then attach your PUA application and weekly claim reports to the secure email. Please only use the secure e-mail link we send to provide personal identifying information relevant to your claim.
Mail: You can mail your PUA application and weekly claim reports to Oregon Employment Department at P.O. Box 14165, Salem, OR 97311.
Fax: There are several fax machines linked to the 503-371-2893 fax number for your PUA application and weekly claim reports.
The CARES Act page also provides information for self-employed, contract, gig, and other PUA-eligible workers who filed regular claims for unemployment benefits prior to the start of the program.