The Oregon Employment Department is preparing for an increase in unemployment claims following Governor Kate Brown’s statewide pandemic-related two-week freeze.

The freeze takes effect Wednesday, Nov. 18, to curb the exponential spread of COVID-19.

Jobless Claims Preparation

The Oregon Employment Department will use the National Guard to support claims processing and is developing an option for impacted employers to submit employee information in bulk to minimize the need for employees to locate key information that may not be easily accessible.

Oregonians whose employment is impacted by the freeze will need to either file an initial claim or restart a stopped claim, according to the Oregon Employment Department acting director David Gerstenfeld.

“While the two-week freeze may not directly affect all businesses, we want Oregonians to know that we are in a much better place than we were at the start of the pandemic to respond to an uptick in unemployment claims," Gerstenfeld said. "We are ready to take your claims and ensure you get your benefits as quickly as possible, whether through an existing benefit program or any new federal program that may get passed."

Gerstenfeld said the National Guard will be used to support the department's claims processing capacity. The employment department is also developing an option for impacted employers to submit employee information in bulk to minimize the need for employees to locate key information that may not be easily accessible.

Oregonians whose employment is impacted by the two-week freeze should take the Oregon Employment Department’s Eligibility Quiz to determine which benefit program they are eligible for.

If a claimant has returned to work and their employment is impacted by the Two-Week Freeze, they will need to restart their claim. Claims can be restarted by going to the Online Claim System and selecting Restart Your Claim (the eighth button down). Those unable to restart their claim this way should contact the Employment Department through the Contact Us form and select the Restarting my claim option.

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