Important Updates About Unemployment Benefits

Repayment of Benefits While You Wait (BWYW)

In recent days, OSEA members who previously received unemployment payments from the Oregon Employment Department (OED) – which they often didn’t realize were conditional, rather than being approved – have received notices about OED seeking to collect after a “reasonable assurance” determination went against the employee. If you have received a collection notice from OED, here’s what you need to know and do:

1. Most urgently, read your determination notice carefully. OED letters are often confusing, but if your benefits were approved, or were approved for most of the summer, you may not need to do anything else.

2. If you have not filed an appeal of any denied benefits, file your appeal by the deadline. You can also provide additional information to your adjudicator if there’s evidence they didn’t have – for example, if you didn’t get to speak to your adjudicator by phone before they issued a determination. That information, such as lay-off and recall letters from your district, should be submitted using the webform at the State of Oregon Employment Department. Mark your submission as “Regular UI” and “Status of my claim.”

3. Even if your unemployment claim is denied, know that most BWYW payments to school employees are not immediately collectible. It is still important to appeal and provide extra evidence if you can because this overpayment can be held against future unemployment benefits. However, you are unlikely to face immediate collection action as a result of OED’s payment decision. If your OED collection notice says “cash repayment is required,” email Bob Estabrook immediately.

4. Chapter leaders: Consider inviting Bob to speak to your members about appeals and overpayments at an upcoming chapter meeting. Unfortunately, hundreds of OSEA members are still waiting on determinations of their claims. Giving them information and an opportunity to ask questions sooner rather than later may be appreciated.