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Oregon Employment Dept. sending out $300 a week in emergency jobless benefits

(Update: Adding video, Bend man's comments)

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Employment Department said it began issuing Lost Wages Assistance funds Wednesday to qualifying Oregonians who were receiving PUA benefits or who self-certified that they received unemployment benefits for COVID-19-related reasons.

LWA is a temporary emergency measure funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that gives an additional $300 per week to people out of work due to COVID-19 and who receive unemployment benefits. So far, $225 million in LWA payments has been issued to 147,900 Oregonians.

"I was wondering why it didn't get distributed earlier," Bend resident Dennis Monroe Jr. said of the news.

The former ultrasound/X-ray inspector was furloughed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by Bend's Epic Aircraft.

Monroe said he has been on the lookout for a new job opportunity since the spring, but he's still dependent on unemployment benefits to keep him afloat.
So who is eligible?

The OED says Oregonians automatically qualify for this program if they:

Received unemployment benefits from July 26, 2020, throughout Sept. 5, 2020.

Self-certify that they were unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.

This will require a new step for claimants currently receiving regular unemployment benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Benefits, (PEUC) and Extended Benefits (EB).

Monroe said this year is unlike anything he's ever seen.

"This is the first time I've ever experienced something like this," he said. "This is the first time I've been significantly out of a job since I graduated high school."

Monroe said the social distancing regulations have made it more difficult to interview for jobs in-person, but he's confident he can find a job.

"I've been running on a shoestring since this whole COVID-19 thing started, and these extra funds are going to help," he said.

The acting director of the Oregon Employment Department, David Gerstenfeld, addressed the additional funds.

“I am pleased to announce that Oregonians will soon receive their LWA payments," Gerstenfeld said. We appreciate their patience, especially as these past few weeks have been incredibly stressful."

“Our employees know how critical these benefits are to Oregonians, and the impact these funds will have on local communities. I commend our staff for their dedication to making this happen on-time while keeping other priority projects on track,” he said.

LWA payments for all currently eligible Oregonians will be issued immediately. Claimants will receive individual $300 payments for each week they are eligible, via their current method of payment. Claimants with electronic deposit (direct deposit or ReliaCard) should see funds in their account within three business days.

Following this initial release of payments, benefits will be issued to newly eligible claimants on a daily basis until LWA funds run out.

Eligible claimants who have not yet certified can still do so. There is no cut-off date for self-certification; however, since funds are limited, the Employment Department encourages claimants who have not certified to do so immediately.

Claimants receiving regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Extended Benefits (EB) can self-certify for LWA using the Online Claim System. Individuals receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) do not need to certify because they certified when first applying for PUA benefits.

LWA was retroactive to eligible claimants for weeks ending:

  • August 1, 2020
  • August 8, 2020
  • August 15, 2020
  • August 22, 2020
  • August 29, 2020
  • September 5, 2020

LWA payments are taxable under federal law, just like regular unemployment insurance (UI) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. If taxes are withheld from other benefits, they will also be withheld from the LWA benefits.


Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

Bend / Coronavirus / News / Oregon-Northwest / Top Stories
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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.



        1. The people on social security and medicaid or medicare are totally different than
          most of the workers who are unemployed because of the virus…
          Many of the workers on unemployment now are younger, entry level, minimum wage workers, and the way I understand it, a large portion of them don’t even work full time.

          Most of the people that are on Social security, medicare, or medicaid are older
          and in many cases elderly. They worked hard, and contributed to these programs most of their lives. Why should they give it up just because they support Trump ?
          Many of them don’t get very much on S.S, and it’s extremely hard for them to survive.
          Many have to make the decision of paying their electric bill, buying food, or paying for critical medication that can be the difference between life and death…
          These people don’t get an additional $300-$600 a week to help them out because of the virus, but you think they should give up the small amount that they do get as a sign
          of solidarity with Trump ?

          So I guess you think we should let the elderly that weren’t able to save or retire comfortably, die ? But you want to coddle the younger generation of workers that are unemployed. A lot of the younger generation are already lazy and have zero work ethic, and you want to encourage them to continue that lifestyle by paying them more to stay home and sit on their butts. I’m sure that makes perfectly good sense to many liberals…

      1. So those of you Maga haters…. did you return- refuse- or donate to charity- the stimulus money the President sent you- a good chunk of change mind you… and why can’t our Dictator in Salem match that offer ??? Why is it only a select few- with all these conditions- be “gifted” her mercy ??? Make no mistake- this is how you divide a society- this is how you control the masses through piece-meal handouts- this is exactly how Saddam-Assad- the Ayatollahs control their populations… What’s next Kate ? Thobes and Burquas for everyone !

  1. Mike338 = make sure HIS Socialist Medicare and Social Security payments
    but screw the workforce since Trumps lack of a plan or a clue put our economy in the toilet.

          1. And that’s why most consider you (in particular) to be a complete waste of time… though it is a hard call with strong competition from Tiobozo- neverdumper and snorze…. the usual cast with multiple handles to spout their stupidity through. But thanks for admitting it- as that should be a warning to all- yer being trolled !

      1. Go easy with FTC- just another half-wit that hangs around here repeating CNN talking points- the same clown that just a night ago was B-slapped to see how pathetic Biden actually performed at the debates….. small tater with small taters !
        As for this from the story ———– “This is the first time I’ve been significantly out of a job since I graduated high school.”…………. what Oregonians need to realize is that Kate Brown’s Executive Orders have had no impact on the Wuhan China virus- we see that in the daily data as both new cases and death rates have been consistent for months.————— Instead- Kate’s plan is all about wealth redistribution- and she’s going after the middle class- the families first———- Brown knows that as long as schools are in lockdown- and she tosses out a few crumbs (like this measly $300 to a qualifying few) to the peasants- that the overall masses will not revolt….. this is exactly how Arab nations and their ruling dictators have acted for decades….. while Americans sit home and make snide remarks about how that could never happen in America…….. well guess what…….. the State of Oregon and it’s inhabitants are no better than a Syrian refugee- a Kuwaiti cab driver- a Saudi house-wife !

        1. So why then is consumer confidence back to pre-pandemic hysteric levels ? Seems not everyone buys into the gloom and doom presented here on a daily basis.

    1. I guess Barney didn’t like my first response to you last night so I will try again…

      Make sure my Medicare and Social security payments ? WTH are you talking about ?
      I never said anything about screwing the workforce, and they haven’t been…
      A large percentage of workers on unemployment now are minimum wage, unskilled labor,
      and when the virus crap started and businesses started laying people off, they started
      getting unemployment, and the amount they get is dictated by their past earnings,
      just like it has been for everyone else in the past…

      Then, on top of that amount, they received an additional $600.00 a week, and because of that, many of them were getting roughly $4000.00 a month. For $12.00 an hour minimum wage workers that work 40 hours a week, which I understand is a rarity, they were making twice as much on unemployment than they were when they worked full time, so if you think they are getting screwed, we live in very different worlds…

      Back when the timber industry was destroyed, it completely devastated tens of thousands of families. These were extremely hard working people. Many had been in the industry for years, and in some cases it was multi-generational. We’re not talking about the minimum wage workers at a fast food restaurant that can’t even get a simple order correct, that still live at home with mom and dad…

      These people had house payments, car payments, kids, as well as the usual daily living expenses that everyone has. Many of these workers lost everything they had, and they certainly didn’t get any additional unemployment. So don’t try and convince me that the
      people who are unemployed because of the virus are getting screwed…
      Tens of thousands of families got screwed when the timber industry was destroyed by
      a bunch of unemployed hippies spewing misinformation and lies, and the spineless
      politicians that believed all of their garbage, and allowed it to happen…

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