The Oregon Employment Department is pleased that Congress has passed an extension of federal benefit programs, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). Without an extension of PUA or PEUC, approximately 70,000 Oregonians would have lost a vital safety net after Dec. 26. We are glad Oregonians no longer have to worry about an abrupt end to this critical financial support.
We are moving quickly to make changes and implement the federal relief programs recently passed. Right now, we are waiting to receive rules and instructions from the U.S. Department of Labor. The holidays may impact how quickly the U.S. Dept. of Labor gets guidance to us; however, we will work through the holidays and do what we can to make programmatic changes and get benefits out the door as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, claimants may experience a gap in benefits from the time period when CARES Act benefits expire on Dec. 26 and when we can implement the new benefit programs and extensions to existing programs. We know that any gap in benefits will be a hardship for people. We want Oregonians to know that we are doing everything we can to make sure they get the benefits they are eligible for as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, we are asking claimants not to call us with questions but instead sign up for email updates so they will be one of the first to know. As we receive guidance and information from the U.S. Dept. of Labor regarding timelines and specific steps claimants should take, we will share that information on our website, social media, and in direct emails and notices to claimants.
As the media will continue playing a critical role in getting information out, we will also share updates with the press as new information emerges.