A Guide to Oregon Unemployment Benefits

The State of Oregon Unemployment Insurance benefits are for citizens who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and need to replace part of their income. 

The program is paid for by employers in Oregon who pay taxes into a fund that supports OR unemployment insurance benefits for workers.  No UI taxes are withheld from employee paychecks.

In addition to providing monetary benefits, the State of Oregon also assists job seekers with WorkSource Oregon, a comprehensive job search and job training program.

How Unemployment Works in Oregon

And How To Get Unemployment in Oregon

  1. The Oregon unemployment office encourages you to file a claim as soon as you lose your job. This will help you receive financial assistance as soon as possible.
  2. Apply for Oregon unemployment online, through the phone, or in-person at an office location. Expect to wait one week for confirmation that you have been approved.
  3. If you meet Oregon unemployment benefits eligibility, you can expect to begin receiving your benefits by the third week of unemployment (if you filed immediately). You may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits.
  4. To continue receiving your Oregon unemployment compensation, you will need to file weekly claims that show you are searching for new work. You may also be required to seek out help from workforce assistance programs that help you find a new job.
  5. The Oregon unemployment rate of payment determines how much you will receive each month, between $126 and a maximum $538. This is sent to you through a debit card or by direct deposit.

What Oregon unemployment requirements must be met to qualify for benefits?

To receive UI benefits, you must meet the following Oregon unemployment qualifications:

  1. You must be physically and mentally able to work.
  2. You must be available for work and actively seeking work.  Availability includes accepting, full-time, part-time and temporary work. 
  3. You must be willing and able to work all the normal days and hours for the type of work you are seeking and at the normal pay rate for that type of work as well.
  4. You must be willing to commute a reasonable distance.
  5. You have been paid at least $1,000 in base wages during your base year and your total base wages were at least 1.5 times the wages paid in the highest calendar quarter of your base year.  You can also qualify if you worked at least 500 hours and were paid wages that your employer paid UI taxes on. 
  6. You must conduct an active job search, including contacting employers who hire people with your type of experience, training and skills. Your job search must continue even if you are already working part-time.

To qualify for benefits, you must complete five work seeking activities each week.  These work seeking activities may include:

  • Attending job training workshops or meetings
  • Networking
  • Making direct contact with employers
  • Updating your resume
  • Reviewing job placement websites and newspapers for job leads.
  • At least two of your job seeking activities must be direct contact with employers, either in person, by phone, mail or electronically.
  • To remain eligible, you will need to report your job seeking activities and provide details of your activities and contacts. 
  • Union members must remain in good standing with their union and must continue to be capable of accepting and reporting for work when dispatched by their union.

You will be required to register for work through an Oregon unemployment website such as WorkSource Oregon.  This will also require you to visit a local WorkSource Center to complete your enrollment.

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When will I get paid? How long does it take to get unemployment in Oregon?

You must successfully complete an initial “waiting week” which takes place the first week your application is filed.  If your application is successfully processed, your first payment will be made in the third week of your OR unemployment.  If you submit your Oregon unemployment weekly claim on Sunday or Monday, payment will be made on Tuesday.  Electronic payments issued on Tuesday will normally appear in accounts on Wednesday.  Federal or bank holidays will delay payments.

In Oregon, the first payment of your new claim is normally sent by a physical paper check.  All subsequent payments made by the Oregon unemployment department are either made by a Visa debit card or by direct deposit.  You must apply for direct deposit, otherwise the default payment mode is by a debit card.

Direct deposit means that your benefits will automatically be deposited to your savings or checking account at your bank, credit union or other financial institution of your choosing.  To sign up for direct deposit, you must use the Online Claim System and select “electronic deposit” from the main menu.  You will be directed to print an Authorization for Electronic Deposit Form which you will then send into the Employment Department.  Normally, it takes the department about two weeks to verify account information.  Until that time, you will receive your UI benefit payments by a paper check.

If you want to have your benefits loaded on to a debit card, the Employment Department uses U.S. Bank ReliaCard Visa.  You will be mailed a card and after you activate it, your UI benefits will be loaded onto the card which you can then use anywhere Visa cards are accepted.  Once you receive the card, you can retrieve your account information online through ReliaCard or by calling their customer service at 1-855-279-1270. 

For any reason, if you do not get your payment when you are expecting it, you can check the status of your payment using the Online Claim System by following the link to “View status of weekly report.”  

You can also call the Oregon Unemployment Weekly Claim Line at the following numbers:

Portland Area: (503) 224-0405
Greater Salem Area: (503) 375-7900
Eastern/Central Oregon/Bend: (541) 388-4066

Toll-free Oregon unemployment number: (800) 982-8920

TTY Relay Service 711 www.SprintRelay.com

How do I file for unemployment benefits in (OR) Oregon?

In Oregon, you can file a new claim for unemployment either online or by phone.

To begin an Oregon unemployment claim filing, start here.

You will only be able to file an initial claim through the Oregon unemployment phone number if:

  • You have filed an Oregon unemployment insurance claim in another state within the past 12 months.
  • You have not worked in Oregon in the past 18 months
  • You worked as a merchant seaman in the last 18 months
  • You are currently outside of the U.S.
  • You performed 90 days or more of active duty service for a branch of the United States military within the last 18 months, other than training for a National Guard unit.
  • You filed an Oregon unemployment claim in another state within the past 12 months.

To find the appropriate UI center to call, go here.

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Before you file your claim you will need to several pieces of information handy:

  1. Social Security number
  2. You contact information including your address and a phone number you can be reached during normal business hours in case the Employment Department has questions about your claim.
  3. Your work history for the past 18 months, including names, addresses and phone numbers for all of your employers.  You will also need the dates you worked for each of them.
  4. Your salary and total income from each employer.
  5. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you will need your Alien Registration Number and supporting documentation.
  6. Your DD-214 if you were a member of the military within the past two years.
  7. Your SF-50 or SF-8 and check stubs or W2 proof of earnings if you were a federal employee

Filing your claim online will take about 30 minutes to complete.  It is advisable that you print summary pages when you are finished and keep them for your records.

Do not delay in filing your initial Oregon unemployment application.  Your claim is effective for the week that you submit your application.  You cannot backdate an application.

After you file your claim online or by phone, your application will be processed and you will be mailed a Wage and Potential Benefit Report.

On the first Sunday or Monday after you filed your Oregon unemployment application, file a claim for UI benefits for the prior week.  You can do this either online or by phone on the Weekly Claim Line.  For the first week you are unemployed, you will need to go through a “waiting week” in which no benefits are paid to you.

For each week you are unemployed, to receive benefits you will need to keep filing a claim.  If there are questions about your claim, a representative from Oregon unemployment contacting you is not unusual. You will either be contacted by phone or you may be scheduled to go to a meeting at a local WorkSource Oregon center.  If you don’t go to the meeting or fail to answer all the questions that are asked, your benefits may be delayed or denied.  In some cases, it may take three to four weeks to investigate any issues.

When will your Oregon unemployment claim be processed? How many weeks can you receive benefit payments?

The Oregon Employment Department provides applicants with an unemployment insurance benefits estimator to help them get a better idea of what level of benefits they may be entitled to receive.  You will need to know what your base year is and what the wages are that you received for each quarter.  You can use paystubs and W2 forms to help you determine the appropriate amount.  The calculator is for estimating purposes only and the actual benefit you receive may be different than the amount shown.

To access the Oregon Unemployment Insurance Estimator, go here

To qualify for UI benefits, you must have earned at least $1,000 in wages from employers who paid UI benefit taxes.  In addition, your total base year wages must equal or exceed 1.5 times the wages paid in the highest calendar quarter of your base year.

Currently, you can receive benefits for 26 weeks for your benefit year.  You cannot file a new claim until your benefit year is up, evening you have exhausted all of your benefits.

Your Oregon unemployment amount is calculated as 1.25% of your total base year wages.  Oregon unemployment laws set the minimum and maximum amounts of UI benefits you can receive.  Currently, the weekly minimum is $126 and the weekly maximum is $538.

If you were unable to work because you were sick or injured, you may be able to file an Oregon unemployment extension that increases your base year to additional calendar quarters.  Contact the UI Center to discuss this option with a claims representative.

 Base Year

If your claim begins between these dates:Your base year will be:
January 1 through March 31October 1 through September 30
April 1 through June 30January 1 through December 31
July 1 through September 30April 1 through March 31
October 1 through December 31July 1 through June 30

Alternate Base Year

If your claim begins between these dates:Your alternate base year will be:
January 1 through March 31January 1 through December 31
April 1 through June 30April 1 through March 31
July 1 through September 30July 1 through June 30
October 1 through December 31October 1 through September 30

Do I have to look for a job to get unemployment benefits?

One of the Oregon unemployment requirements for receiving unemployment insurance benefits in Oregon is that you must actively participate in job search activities each week you are unemployed.  You are required to complete a minimum of five job seeking activities that can include a mix of networking, making direct contact with employers, participating in job training workshops or meetings or reviewing job placement websites and newspapers for job leads, among others.  At least two of your activities must be making direct contact with employers in one form or another.

To continue to collect UI benefits, you will be asked to document your job search activities when you file for benefits each week.

To assist job seekers, the state created WorkSource Oregon, a comprehensive job search, skills assessment and job placement service.  Local centers offer job listings, referrals, job fairs, resume and job application assistance, free office equipment to assist seekers with their activities and several other similar services.

To access WorkSource Oregon, go here.

To find the nearest WorkSource center, go here.

Check Your Eligibility

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I acknowledge and understand that by submitting this Contact Request form through clicking "Check Eligibility!", I provide my express consent to the following: (1) That I am bound by Eligibility.com LLC’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use; (2) That I am not required to submit this form, and thereby agree to all terms located herein, as a condition to receive any property, goods, or services that may be offered, and that I may revoke my consent at any time.

What if I am denied benefits? How can I appeal a denial of my claim?

There are many possible reasons why you might be denied benefits or they could be halted:

  • You quit your job
  • You were fired or suspended
  • You are not able to work for any number of reasons
  • You started school or training
  • You were arrested and are in jail
  • You turned down an offer to go to work
  • You did not actively conduct a job search
  • You received wages during a week you are trying to claim benefits.  Depending on the amount, you may only be eligible for partial benefits.
  • You did not participate in a Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment interview
  • You did not complete enrollment through your local WorkSource Oregon center
  • You are unemployed due to a labor dispute
  • You file Oregon unemployment during a break period if you are a teacher or non-instructional education employee.

You should continue to claim weeks in case your situation is reviewed and it is determined that you are eligible for benefits.  You may be asked for more information before a final determination is made and you must reply in a timely manner to ensure a timely decision. 

If you withhold information or make false statements or report false information, you could be charged with fraud, leading to serious repercussions.

If you are denied benefits, you will receive a written notice detailing the reasons why.  If you disagree with the decision, you can appeal it by requesting a hearing within 20 days of receiving the letter.  When you receive your written notice, it will contain the information you need to file an appeal.  Be aware of deadlines to file an appeal which can be made through the UI Center by mail, fax, email or by phone.  While you are going through the appeal process, continue to file for weekly benefits.  That way, if your appeal is successful, you will be paid for those weeks, otherwise, you will not.

An Administrative Law Judge will conduct a hearing regarding your appeal and you will be mailed the judge’s decision.  If you disagree with it, you may appeal the state’s Employment Appeals Board.  If you still receive an unfavorable decision, you can file an appeal with the Oregon Court of Appeals.

For more information on hearings and the appeals process, go here.

Unemployment Related Key Terms

As you read through this guide, you should know and understand what the following terms are:

Base year and calendar quarter – the 52 week period on which your claim amount is determined. Calendar quarters run January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December. In some cases, you may be able to file a claim using an alternate base year.

Benefit week – The 7-day period for which your UI benefits are paid.

Benefit year – The effective date of your first Oregon unemployment weekly claim is the beginning of your benefit year and is usually the Sunday of the week that you file your first claim.

Claimant – A person filing for Oregon unemployment benefits is known as a claimant.

WorkSource Oregon Center – A series of Oregon unemployment office locations that assists unemployed citizens with all things related to job searches and unemployment.

UI benefits – Unemployment Insurance benefits.  This is the actual name for the funds you will receive when you comply with all Oregon unemployment eligibility requirements.

Waiting week – Oregon requires that you wait one week before you can receive any payments.  You must still claim the week so that it can be considered your Waiting Week, otherwise it will roll over to the next week.

Click Here for our Guide: 5 Things You Need to Know Before Filing Unemployment

For more information on the OR Unemployment Program

For more information on Oregon’s unemployment insurance benefits, use the following contact information:

Online

State of Oregon Employment Department for general information

WorkSourceOregon for job search assistance

Use the Online Claim System to:

  • Claim a week of benefits
  • View the status of your Oregon unemployment weekly claims
  • Restart your claim
  • File a new claim
  • Change your address
  • Set up an electronic deposit
  • Make a payment
  • Change or reset your PIN

 Download the complete Claimant Handbook as a PDF:

English version
Spanish version
Russian version
Vietnamese version

By phone

Oregon Unemployment Insurance Call Centers:
Portland Area: (503) 292-2057
Salem Area: (503) 947-1500
Eastern/Central Oregon/Bend: (541) 388-6207
TOLL FREE: (877) 345-3484

Oregon Unemployment Weekly Claim Line Numbers:
Portland Area: (503) 224-0405
Greater Salem Area: (503) 375-7900
Eastern/Central Oregon/Bend: (541) 388-4066
TOLL FREE: (800) 982-8920
TTY Relay Service 711 www.SprintRelay.com

Fraud Hotline
877-668-3204
fraudhotline.emp@oregon.gov

By mail
PO Box 14135
Salem OR 97309-5068
Fax: (866) 345-1878