We have finally gotten more information from the Oregon Employment Department (OED) about the status of summer unemployment claims for school employees. Please read this information carefully.
Update 1: Most of the remaining 5,725 school employee claims have already been paid under the “Benefits While You Wait” program. However, this is not a guarantee that benefits will be approved. If OED eventually finds against your claim, these payments may need to be returned to OED. OED made these payments to lots of workers under a ruling from the US Department of Labor, but school employees are still required to have “reasonable assurance” determinations before they know whether the benefits are really theirs.
- Checks can be cashed before you receive your official determination, but you may need to pay the amount back later. OSEA is working with OED to get more information about how and when that might happen. They have confirmed that it will be treated as a “non-claimant fault” situation. OSEA will send out more information about what this means as soon as we have it.
- Even if you have already received payments, you should work with your adjudicator to get a written determination. Until that time, your claim is not settled. You are more likely to be approved to keep the benefits if you work with your adjudicator.
Update 2: OED has added additional adjudicators to expedite school employee UI claims, and is using other staff to make phone calls to claimants to get the information needed for adjudicators to make determinations. Do your best to answer the call when it comes – likely from a routing hub number that you won’t recognize. OED should leave a message if they miss you. If you receive a phone message or letter from OED identifying a specific number for you to call to speak to your adjudicator, use that number. Just in case it’s a scam, remember to not provide your Social Security Number or other sensitive information over the phone. OED just needs to confirm your address, employer, customer ID number or other less-sensitive information to verify your identity. Do share as much information with your adjudicator as you can about when you found out you’d have a job in the fall. If you have already been laid off this school year and haven’t gotten a determination letter, email Bob right away.
OSEA will share more information about the unemployment claims situation with you as soon as we can. We are already reaching out to legislators to highlight OED’s poor handling of school employee claims thus far, and we will be bringing legislation in any special session and in next year’s regular session to get more school employees the UI benefits that they deserve. If you want to write to your legislator now, visit the 2023 Find Your Legislator Website and enter your home address to get their contact information.