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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 13 October 2009

On Friday, Oct. 16, Oregon's unemployment offices will be closed. Workers are taking an unpaid furlough day in an attempt to save the state money. The closings will affect Unemployment Insurance centers and WorkSource Oregon Centers. Included below is information from the state on filing for unemployment benefits, extensions and responding to requests.

Filing a weekly claim for benefits

The filing of weekly claims will not be affected by the closure. Claimants may either call the Employment Department weekly claim line, or go online to file their weekly claim on Sunday of any day thereafter as usual.  There will be no delay in payment of benefits for those filing their weekly claim. 

Filing a new claim or re-starting an existing claim for unemployment benefits

Oregonians may file a new claim for benefits online at www.WorkingInOregon.org/ocs no matter the day or the time.  However, new claims filed online Friday October 16 will not be processed by Employment Department staff until the following week. 

Oregonians without Internet access can still call the Employment Department on October 16th to get the process for their new claim started. Here are the specifics of that process:

•    Call your local unemployment insurance center
o    503-451-2400 or toll free 1-877-877-1781 (Portland area)
o    541-686-7800 or toll free 1-877-728-7970 (Eugene and southwest Oregon)
o    541-388-6207 or toll free 1-800-663-7914 (Central and Eastern Oregon)
•    Answer some basic questions using your telephone keypad
•    You will be given a date by which to call back and complete your claim

The advantage to calling the Employment Department to get your claim started is
•    It establishes the date of your claim as October 16, which would mean you would receive your payment sooner, and
•    When you do call back, your process on the phone will go faster

Filing for an unemployment extension

Individuals will not be able to file for any of the unemployment insurance extension programs on October 16.  In order to file for an extension (Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or EUC, High Extended Benefits, or HEB, or Oregon Emergency Benefits, or OEB), individuals must call and speak to a claims taker.  They will be able to do so beginning Monday, October 19.  Backdating an application for an extension to October 16 will be considered based upon individual circumstances. 

Correspondence from the Employment Department asking for a reply by October 16

Anyone who received correspondence from the Employment Department asking for a reply by October 16, 2009, will have those deadlines extended to Monday, October 19, 2009.  This would include filing a request for hearing.
Many questions regarding unemployment benefits may be answered on the Employment Department's Web site:  www.WorkingInOregon.org.  By clicking on "unemployment insurance" in the left-hand menu, then scrolling down to the heading "General Information," individuals will find a list of resources including a Frequently Asked Questions section.  In most cases, claimants may find answers to unemployment questions here and would not need to call the unemployment insurance center. The Employment Department has taken measures to ensure the best service possible to Oregonians once offices re-open.  The department has aggressively investigated problems in the telephone and automated systems, and has identified ways to increase call capacity to the unemployment insurance call centers.  The department also has increased capacity of its online claims system to take more claims simultaneously.

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