Skip to Content

Oregon Employment Dept. cites progress on claims backlog

Oregon Employment Department

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Employment Department announced Wednesday they met their  FOCUS PUA goal of processing 70,000 remaining initial Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims Tuesday, several days ahead of the Saturday deadline it had set for itself.

The department said in a news release it is now current with processing regular and PUA unemployment claims, and processing new ones that come in at a record rate, so Oregonians can start getting paid the benefits they are owed.

“We hope that more Oregonians are now starting to feel relief,” said David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Employment Department. “The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program’s new online form has also helped in processing weekly claims, so more Oregonians will start getting their benefits much more quickly.”

In the past week, the department said it processed more than 20,000 initial PUA claims, as with the week prior, signaling the increased speed at which the department is now working. The department has already redirected employees to other work needed to get people their benefits.

“It’s important to remember that while some claims may need more attention for benefits to be sent, that initial processing is a critical first ste," Gerstenfeld said. "I am happy to report that the department has removed one more barrier to Oregonians getting their critically needed regular unemployment or PUA.”

Gerstenfeld noted that additional barriers still remain, but said the department is moving in the right direction, and is continuing to build positive momentum.

“We have turned a corner in getting Oregonians their benefits more quickly. It has certainly taken more time than we’d like. But we’re getting there, and we are committed to doing everything we can to make this easier for everyone,” Gerstenfeld said in his weekly media briefing.

Last week, the department announced they had found a way to pay tens of thousands of Oregonians “Benefits While You Wait.” The department is proactively reaching out to Oregonians who may be eligible for those benefits while their claims are being reviewed by an adjudicator.

Gerstenfeld also shared that the agency is committed to getting the modernization of the department’s computer system back on track.

“We are well-positioned to modernize in a way that will help Oregonians get the benefits they deserve in a timely fashion," he said. "We now have a talented team of employees. I am now responsible for the success of this project and intend to do everything I can to make real progress — and quickly.” 

Coronavirus / Government-politics / News / Top Stories

KTVZ news sources



  1. Where is our useless governor on this problem? She knew the agency’s computers were headed for disaster long ago. Other states that had a problem meeting demand hired outside contractors to pick up the slack but Kate has been MIA as usual. Kate has no leadership ability. She is way over her head. Recall her!

  2. “Benefits While You Wait.” – sounds cool and if benefits are approved most likely is but if benefits are not approved how do they expect to get it back?

  3. “70,000 remaining initial Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims Tuesday”

    Tuesday August 4th ??? Damn near 5 agonizing months after Brown initiated the first of her Executive Orders meant to destroy the state economy and force every single one of these Oregonians on to her plantation of welfare- Government support- and eventual bankruptcy !

    How in the name of Master Sergeant Barney is any of this legal ???

    This has gone from being a well orchestrated hoax- to a full fledged assault on the American constitution and your civil rights and liberties… sign the recall petition and throw her out !

    1. You sir continue to spout your trash. Your negativity would be hilarious if it wasn’t so rude and snarky.

      My significant other has yet to receive a dime. Or any communication regarding the claim submitted. And yet neither of us blame the governor or Covid-19.

      I/we blame the state, the cheapskate politicians (reps, like Greg Walden etc) who don’t want to upgrade/fund an antiquated system.

      And go ahead and feel free to verbally attack me. I won’t /don’t care. I’ve been reading your comments for a fair amount of time. Your nastiness is an indicator of a very unhappy human.

      1. And you bugs eyes have done nothing to forward the conversation but identify your political position against…. wait for it… “Greg Walden” ???????

        So let’s end your tantrum with a deciding blow-

        Just what part of Kate Brown’s Executive Order to shut down the schools first- businesses second- and public gatherings third… did Greg Walden sign ???????

        No attack bug eater- Explain how “Failed Governor Kate Brown”- sitting in the highest office in the state- is not really “Government”- and therefore has complete and absolute immunity to any decision that affects the state !

        Forget your opinions- what does that “significant other” of yours have to say about zero income for five months- who is paying the rent- the mortgage- the food bills… ya buy any new underwear lately- or just keep recycling the 2019 stained ones ?

        Cripes people- the more you share- the more I wonder about your sanity !

  4. So if i’m a left wing trump hater…i can call others offensive names and use terms like golf and a whore anyone…. but call kate brown a thief and show how she did it isn’t ok…..

    Once again…. the z21 crew fully guilty of Lying by Omission. Funny that you mock us barney…. funny how soon you forget Operation Mockingbird

    But yeah…. you media people have no agenda, right?

    1. Wow, it sounds like you really dislike this website. Have you considered cancelling your FREE subscription and moving on? Breitbart awaits your sage observations….

      1. I don’t like being lied too. Why is it your kind supports groups like Twitter suspending people’s accounts, claiming they are preventing the spread of “fake news”, but you 100% support your state media and government lying to you? These people have been offered to prove otherwise, yet they refuse…. they throw out the old “feel free to move on” statement

          1. And you’re a typical left wing liberal loon that has come here to try and silence conservative- or opposing viewpoints.

            Many of you find your “audacity” by parroting the local Moderator’s “exact” words about this being a “free” site !

            Now I appreciate a good back and forth with the Moderator on any topic he wishes to be schooled in- but the Ol “love it or leave it” statement is a sure sign that there’s an “OK Boomer” at the helm who has failed to keep up with the modern concepts of “internet free speech” !

            The legal fact that you can’t harass- vilify- or single out certain persons because of their ‘opinions” harkens back to the colonial era- but somehow our draft dodging headed for Canada journalists from that generation – seem locked in a time warp that they can’t escape !

            So spare us all your fake outrage- focus on something more than childish name calling- untie yer knickers- and grow a pair- yer embarrassing yerself !

  5. I’m sorry but 70,000 minus one does not = 100%!
    Gaslighting and posturing , while bragging about the embarrassing job rating of “needs improvement ” = “not acceptable “.
    I don’t care how much butter they slather on it, they did not earn the ” mission accomplished ” banner.

Leave a Reply