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What gov’t workers don’t want you to know about Oregon unemployment

What gov’t workers don’t want you to know about Oregon unemployment

With the current unemployment rate at 3%, millions of Americans are looking for work and unable to find it. During that period, people still need to pay rent, put food on the table, and take care of their loved ones. Unemployment insurance provides crucial support to Americans who are displaced from work due to no fault of their own.

UI benefits are distributed at the state level. And every state has its own unique rule set regarding unemployment cash payouts and unemployment qualifications. If you’re wondering how Oregon handles unemployment, you’ve come to the right place. The Oregon unemployment rate is currently at 4%, making it slightly higher than the national average.

Here are all of the rules and requirements surrounding Orgeon’s unemployment.

What is “Unemployment?”

While you may think that simply not having a job qualifies you as “unemployed,” it’s a little more complicated than that. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines unemployed as someone who:

  • Is out of a job through no fault of their own
  • Currently looking for work (within the past 4 weeks)
  • Is available for work

This also includes those who have been temporarily laid off and are awaiting reworking conditions (e.g., contractors, union workers, etc.)

Who Is Eligible for Unemployment Benefits in Oregon?

Every state has its own unique unemployment benefits system. To receive benefits in Oregon, you must (by the state of Oregon unemployment laws) have the following qualities.

  • You are an Oregon resident
  • You have earned a minimum amount in wages before you were unemployed
  • You are actively looking for a job and able to take one (i.e., not disabled which qualifies for a different set of benefits)
  • You are out of work through “no fault of your own”

The minimum amount of wages in Oregon is $1,000 worth of wages during the entire “base period” and at least 1.5x the amount of your highest paying quarter during all of the other combined quarters of your “base period.” In this case, “base period” refers to the four quarters (i.e., the year) before you were fired or quit.

So, you must have made at least $1,000 during your last 4 quarters of work. And you must have earned at least 1.5x your highest-earning quarter in the other 3 quarters.

What Does “No Fault of Your Own” Mean?

When you see the words “no fault of your own” it may sound a little confusing at first. You might be wondering, “can I get unemployment if I was fired?” Let’s take a closer look at what “no fault of your own means.”

If You Were Laid Off

If you were laid off, you almost certainly qualify for unemployment benefits. For example, your company may have had a RIF (reduction in force) or mass layoffs. You could not control that situation.

If You Were Fired

You may be wondering, “can you get unemployment if you are fired?”

The answer is a little tricky. If you were fired for gross misconduct or because of something you were at fault for (i.e., breaking policy, participating in illegal behaviors, etc.) you will not qualify for State of Oregon unemployment benefits. However, if you were fired due to:

  • Lack of technical skill
  • Lack of certification
  • Lack of soft skills (i.e., charisma, personality, etc.)

Then you may still qualify for unemployment. The easiest way to figure this out is to fill out the unemployment paperwork.

If You Quit

Again, this depends. If you quit of your own will without reason, then you won’t qualify. However, if you quit due to circumstances outside of your control (i.e., you were sexually harassed, you moved to stay with family, etc.), you will likely still qualify for unemployment benefits.

How Do I Apply for Unemployment Benefits in Orgeon?

There are three places you can apply for unemployment in Oregon.

  • Online
  • By Phone
  • In-person

Filing an Oregon Unemployment Online Claim

To file your claim online, simply visit the Oregon unemployment online claim system. Filing for Oregon unemployment online is the easiest way to start your claim. But, sometimes that’s not feasible. So, let’s look at some of the other options.

Filing an Oregon UI Claim by Phone

You can also call the Oregon unemployment phone number at 1-877-345-3484 to apply for benefits. Unlike applying online, the Oregon unemployment office phone number allows you to apply without internet access — though filing an Oregon unemployment claim by phone can often take longer than completing your claim digitally.

Filing in Person

There are a variety of unemployment offices across Oregon where you can file your claim. These include:

  • The Salem unemployment office
  • The unemployment office in Portland Oregon
  • The Eugene unemployment office
  • The unemployment office in Bend Oregon
  • The unemployment office in Hermiston Oregon
  • The unemployment office in Medford Oregon
  • The unemployment office in Beaverton Oregon
    and more

To see a full list of unemployment offices in Oregon, click here. We recommend visiting on Tuesday – Friday. Monday’s typically have the longest Oregon unemployment weekly claim line.

Oregon Unemployment FAQs

What Are the Weekly Eligibility Requirements for Unemployment in OR?

To continue to receive unemployment in OR, you must prove the following weekly:

  • You are able to work
  • You are available for work
  • You are actively seeking work

This means that you must be willing to accept the regular pay and hours of the type of work you’re applying for, and you have to be willing to commute “a reasonable” distance.

Here’s where things get interesting. While many other states simply review your “actively seeking work” status on a case-by-case basis. In Oregon, you must complete 5 work searching activities per week to remain eligible.

These include:

  • Making contact with an employer
  • Updating your resume
  • Networking
  • Attending workshops
  • etc.

Two of these work searching activities must result in direct contact with a job (i.e., filling out resumes, making phone calls, etc.)

Are You Eligible For Benefits If You Were Fired or Quit?

Yes! Maybe! No… The real answer to, “can you get unemployment if you are fired?” is maybe.

You may or may not be eligible for Oregon state unemployment benefits if you quit your job or you were fired. Typically, if you quit or where fired due to circumstances outside of your control (e.g., you quit due to sexual harassment, you were fired due to lack of skill, etc.) then you qualify for unemployment insurance in Oregon. However, if you were fired due to gross misconduct or you quit due to personal reasons, you will not qualify for unemployment.

How Much Are Oregon’s Unemployment Insurance Payouts?

The maximum weekly payout in Oregon is $538 and the minimum is $126. The exact amount that you get paid will be based upon how much you earned in the four quarters prior to filling out your unemployment claim. You will earn 1.25% of your total earnings during those four periods (up to $538.)

To get a better estimate of how much your unemployment payouts will be, check out the Oregon unemployment calculator.

How Long Does it Take to Get Unemployment?

Once your claim is approved, you will start receiving unemployment benefits a week from that date. The first week is a “grace period” where you will not receive anything. After that first week, your benefits will play role in weekly — as long as you continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

How Long Will My Benefits Last?

In general, your benefits will last until you find another job. However, there is a maximum amount of time. Oregon benefits are available for up to 26 weeks — except in rare circumstances.

What Do You Have To Do To Remain Eligible For Benefits Once You Receive Them?

Once you start getting your paycheck, you may think that you’ve completed the unemployment process. Unfortunately, you will be making weekly claim check-ins where you will have to identify your job-seeking effort. In addition, you must comply with the rules set forth by the State of Oregon Employment Office (formerly located at WorkingInOregon.com)

You must identify the office before you leave town
You must identify the office if you start your own business
You must identify the office if you get a part-time or temp job
Really, you have to keep Oregon in-the-loop when it comes to you earning any amount of money or doing anything that interferes with your ability to seek work.

Can I Appeal My Denied Claim?

Yes! If your claim was denied, you will receive a written letter outlining the reason. There are a variety of reasons that claims are denied, including:

  • You were fired
  • You quit
  • You’re currently in school
  • You were recently arrested and are in jail
  • etc.

When you receive the decline letter, you can appeal that decision within 20 days. Once appealed, a judge will review your case. If they also decline your claim, you can resubmit your appeal to the Oregon Employment Appeals Board. If that is also declined, you can submit an appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals — which is the last step in the appeals process.

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