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New Oregon Emergency Benefits Program becomes law
CONTACT:  Craig Spivey
Oregon Employment Department

Salem - Governor Ted Kulongoski yesterday signed into law HB 3655 authorizing additional unemployment insurance payments for Oregonians who have exhausted all other unemployment benefits.

The law establishes the Oregon Emergency Benefits (OEB) program and authorizes $19 million towards the payment of benefits.  The first payable week of benefits for the program will be the week beginning March 14, with the first checks paid the week of March 21.  Claimants may not register for the program until after March 14, 2010.  All potentially eligible claimants will be notified by letter by the Oregon Employment Department.

In June, 2009 the Oregon Legislature authorized an OEB program to run from October 4, 2009 through December 31, 2009.  The Legislature set aside $30 million from the unemployment insurance trust fund to pay for the program.  In mid-October, Congress expanded the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, and more than 10,000 Oregonians on OEB were switched to the federally-paid EUC program.  The unused portion of the money set aside originally for OEB is being tapped for the new program.

The new OEB program will continue until the $19 million authorized for the program is exhausted.  The Oregon Employment Department estimates the new OEB program will provide two to four weeks of additional payments to claimants who have exhausted all other benefits.