Wyden: Oregon unemployment benefits backlog

“The Oregon Employment Department told me that the agency is finally getting on track to resolve the thousands of claims currently in the adjudication backlog by the end of the year. This is a real commitment to help Oregonians who have been struggling for months to pay rent and buy groceries. OED also committed to paying current waiting week claims—including the additional $600—by the end of November, with a goal to start by Thanksgiving. Given the enormous frustration Oregonians have experienced, I intend to watchdog every day to ensure these critically important goals are met. It’s unconscionable when Oregon is first in so many areas to have Oregon lagging behind in getting workers the benefits they need and are entitled to receive. I also won’t allow self-employed and gig workers to be told to go pound sand. It’s urgent that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims are processed, and I’m pushing hard to extend that program into 2021. I’m also working on legislation that would cover these workers on a permanent basis so we’re better prepared for the next crisis.”