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Oregon begins phasing back in work-search requirements for jobless; deadlines set

Oregon Employment Dept.

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Employment Department said Monday it is putting back in place some unemployment insurance work-search requirements that were suspended or changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first return to work requirement being restored is to register in the Department’s iMatchSkills® online system and create a Job Seeker profile before a certain deadline. Since it is estimated that approximately 220,000 claimants will need to register, deadlines will be staggered over the next five weeks to make it easier for claimants to call their local WorkSource Oregon office with questions.

These return-to-work requirements are only for people receiving Regular UI or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). PUA requirements are being finalized and will be announced soon, however, PUA claimants are welcome to register now if they would like help finding employment.

“Over the last 14 months, the Employment Department has played a critical role in supporting Oregonians. Putting work requirements on hold for more than a half million people during the crisis was the right thing to do, because these benefits provided a critical stabilizing force for families—and our economy. As the pandemic begins to fade and the economy changes, we are still focusing on how we can help fuel economic recovery, and help Oregonians overcome challenges related to employment,” said David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department.

Work search requirement notices will be mailed on a rolling basis, with distinct deadlines for each group of claimants. The first of these notices will go to approximately 35,000 people. Claimants receiving letters will need to complete a two-step process by the deadline listed in their notices to continue receiving benefits:

  1. Complete registration in iMatchSkills®, where they will provide basic information about themselves, AND
  2. Create their Job Seeker profile in iMatchSkills®, which includes their work history and occupations they are seeking. This information will help match them to job opportunities.

If claimants do not complete both steps by their deadline, their benefits will be denied.

Claimants will be required to begin reporting their work-seeking activities on their weekly claim to continue receiving benefits. The deadline for this requirement is July 31 for all regular UI claimants. Going forward, they must report work-seeking activities for any week they want to receive benefits.

Some people will also be mailed a letter informing them they must complete a Welcome Conversation with WorkSource Oregon staff, virtually or in-person. If they are selected for a Welcome Conversation and do NOT complete the tasks by the assigned deadline, their  benefits will be denied.

Anyone who restarts their unemployment claim will have to complete the iMatchSkills® registration process, as will anyone filing a new claim for benefits. If a person is not currently filing weekly unemployment claims, this requirement does not apply to them.

To help people successfully complete this process, a step-by-step guide is available online at Claimants who need assistance with iMatchSkills® can call their local WorkSource Oregon office for additional help or the WorkSource Oregon Language Access Line at 833-685-0845 if they need help in a language other than English.

WorkSource Oregon has been connecting Oregonians to jobs for more than 17 years and is offering virtual appointments and services, as the offices remain closed to walk-ins. Offices will reopen July 6. Whether filing claims or not, if people are looking for work or training opportunities, they can reach out to WorkSource Oregon and register in iMatchSkills®.

Article Topic Follows: Oregon-Northwest

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