Oregon Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility

Researcher & Writer
March 30, 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: Because the coronavirus pandemic has left so many Americans jobless, the federal government has given states more flexibility in granting unemployment benefits. If you have questions about whether you’re eligible for unemployment benefits read our COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits and Insurance FAQ and check out your state's claimant handbook.


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 unemployment insurance 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.


Newly unemployed?

Several online services—like FlexJobs, 360training, or MyPerfectResume—can help you find work-from-home jobs, build a better resume, or earn training certifications.


How do I file for unemployment benefits in Oregon?

In Oregon, you can file a new claim for unemployment either online or over the phone through one of the state’s unemployment insurance call centers:

To find the appropriate center to call, use the state’s ZIP code lookup tool.

You will 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 US.
  • 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.

However, Oregon has lifted some restrictions on unemployment insurance claims for those affected by COVID-19, including employees whose workplaces are temporarily closed.

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

  1. Your Social Security number
  2. You contact information, including your address and a phone number where 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’s a good idea to 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 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, you will need to keep filing a claim to receive benefits. 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 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.

Where do I submit my unemployment insurance claim?

Online

For general information: State of Oregon Employment Department

For job search assistance: WorkSourceOregon

Use the Online Claim System to do the following:

  • 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

By phone

Oregon Unemployment Insurance Call Centers:

Oregon Unemployment Weekly Claim Lines:

Fraud Hotline

Call (877) 668-3204 or send a message to the Fraud Hotline.

By mail

PO Box 14135 Salem, OR 97309-5068

Fax: (866) 345-1878

How Unemployment Works 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, by 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 $151 and a maximum $648. This is sent to you through a debit card or by direct deposit.

FAQs

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

To receive 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, by 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.

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  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 benefit payments by a paper check.

If you want to have your benefits loaded onto a debit card, the Employment Department uses U.S. Bank ReliaCard Visa. You will be mailed a card and after you activate it, your 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.

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. Click the “Status of weekly report” button for more information.

When will my Oregon unemployment claim be processed?

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 pay stubs 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 qualify for benefits, you must have earned at least $1,000 in wages from employers who paid unemployment insurance 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.

How many weeks can I receive benefit payments?

Currently, you can receive benefits for 26 weeks for your benefit year. You cannot file a new claim until your benefit year is up, even if 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 $151 and the weekly maximum is $648.

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.

If your claim begins between these dates:
Your base year will be:

January 1 through March 31

October 1 through September 30

April 1 through June 30

January 1 through December 31

July 1 through September 30

April 1 through March 31

October 1 through December 31

July 1 through June 30

If your claim begins between these dates:
Your base year will be:

January 1 through March 31

January 1 through December 31

April 1 through June 30

April 1 through March 31

July 1 through September 30

July 1 through June 30

October 1 through December 31

October 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 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.

Get more information on the WorkSource Oregon website or at a WorkSource center.

What if I am denied benefits?

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 noninstructional 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.

How can I appeal a denial of my claim?

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 Unemployment Insurance 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.

Written by
Eligibility Team
We are a team of experts dedicated to finding the right government programs for you. Our mission is simple: help people quickly and easily understand which programs they might be eligible for—all in one place. Our team is dedicated to researching and providing you with the most relevant information. We compile only the most trusted information from government sources into one place so you can find the facts you need and skip what you don’t.
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