Unemployment Insurance (UI) provides temporary financial assistance to qualified individuals who meet eligibility requirements of state law. Each person who collects UI benefits is legally responsible for making sure s/he follows the rules set by law.
Keep these top ten key facts in mind when filing for UI benefits to ensure accurate and quick payment of benefits if you are eligible:
1. Accurately report the reason you are unemployed. When you file your claim for benefits, it is important to accurately report your reason for separation from your job. Provide the UI office with the exact reason for your separation so we can best determine your eligibility. Failure to report your work separation accurately may result in an overpayment and/or fraud penalties.
2. Report any wages you earn. You must report your gross wages (before any deductions) for each week you work and claim weekly benefits, even if you don‘t get paid until later. Be sure to accurately report all earnings on your weekly claim certification – even those from self-employment, part-time, or temporary work. If you collect more UI benefits than you are eligible for because you fail to report correct earnings, you may be committing fraud and may be prosecuted.
3. Register with iMatchSkills. Unless exempt by law, you must register with iMatchSkills to be eligible to collect UI benefits. WorkSource Oregon and iMatchSkills provide valuable resources for your use; including job referrals, resume building and re-employment services, whether or not you are required to register.
4. Be available for work. In order to collect benefits, you must claim each week to verify whether you are able, available and willing to accept suitable work. Possible conflicts like attending school during work hours or limitations with child care or transportation could limit your work availability and be an eligibility issue. Report you are not available for work when claiming a week if you have any conflicts that restrict your availability.
5. Actively search for work. You must search for work each week you file a claim for benefits. If you do not search for work during a week in which you file a claim, benefits may be denied. You will be required to provide some of your work seeking activities each week on your weekly claim report.
6. Develop an effective work search plan. Many UI claimants do not have an effective plan for searching for work. WorkSource Oregon is a great place to learn about different kinds of jobs, their availability, and how to get training. Contact WorkSource Oregon
7. Avoid errors and ensure proper payment of benefits. To prevent errors in payment of UI benefits that may result in an overpayment, it is important you read all of the information provided to you when you file your claim for benefits. Improper payment of benefits may cause a delay or denial of future benefits.
8. Report your work when you return to work. Be sure to report your hours and earnings on your weekly claim if you continue claiming benefits after you start a job. Do not wait until you receive your first paycheck to report your hours and earnings. If you have returned to work full time or are earning more than your weekly benefit amount (before any deductions), you can simply stop filing weekly claims. We use state and national resources to track new hires, so it is in your best interest to report your earnings from your return to work immediately to avoid the serious consequences of an improper payment and/or fraud.
9. Follow the rules to prevent committing fraud. Anyone who collects UI benefits is legally responsible for making sure s/he follows the requirements set by state law. Failure to follow the rules can result in serious consequences that will impact you and your family. Consequences for not following UI regulations can include prosecution by government authorities, repaying the benefits with penalties, forfeiting a future income tax refund, losing future eligibility to collect UI benefits and a possible jail sentence.
10. Know your responsibilities and ask for help. As a recipient of UI benefits, you have a legal responsibility to know and follow all rules and reporting requirements. Navigating through the UI system can be confusing. If you have a question about your responsibilities or the requirements of receiving benefits, contact the UI Center at 1-877--File4UI (1-877-345-3484).