Unemployment Waiting Week To Return

Photo: Ford, Brad

Starting Sept. 5, the waiting week will again apply to unemployment insurance benefit claims. The waiting week does not impact the number of weeks claimants receive in benefits or the total amount they may be paid. It does mean people need to wait until after the first week they are otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance benefits to get those benefits.

Last year, Governor Brown declared an emergency and waived the waiting week during the pandemic so people were able to receive benefits the first week they filed a claim. Even after the expiration of that emergency declaration, the Governor waived the waiting week further, through the duration of federal pandemic-related unemployment insurance programs. This decision was based on the Oregon Employment Department’s findings that this further waiver would help Oregonians by providing additional federal resources to people in need. With those federal pandemic unemployment programs ending, Oregon law requires that the normally applicable waiting week resume.

“We know unemployment benefits are a critical safety net and people rely on these funds to provide for their families and stay in their homes. With temporary federal benefits ending Sept. 4 and COVID-19 on the rise, this is a stressful time for many throughout the country. We want to make sure people have the information they need when we return to regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefit rules, including the waiting week,” said David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department.

The department’s resources webpage has a list of organizations and services that may help people during this one-week gap in benefits.

The reinstatement of the waiting week may impact approximately 11,000 people, who include:

• People filing an initial claim for regular UI benefits.

• People currently receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits who were eligible for a regular UI claim after their original PEUC claim expired. PEUC rules required that they continue receiving their PEUC weekly benefit amount if it was at least $25 or more than the WBA on their new claim. Once PEUC ends Sept. 4, 2021, these individuals will be moved back to their new, regular UI claim, triggering a waiting week.

Oregon state law requires people receiving regular UI benefits serve a waiting week. Any changes to this law would require legislative action. The waiting week is the first week of a person’s regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim when they meet all eligibility requirements. They must claim the week, but they are not paid for it.

The first week people claim after Sept 4., and for which they are eligible for benefits, will be their waiting week. They need to complete work-seeking requirements and file their weekly claim during their waiting week, but they will not be paid unemployment benefits for it. People already receiving regular UI benefits will not have a waiting week, unless they later file a new claim for regular UI benefits.

Source: Oregon Employment Department

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