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Benefit Eligibility
Note: This section explains the eligibility requirements for establishing a valid unemployment account. It does not explain all issues that can impact eligibility to receive benefits.

The minimum weekly benefit amount available is currently $126 a week. The maximum potential weekly benefit is currently $538 a week. Your weekly benefit amount is based on your recent work record for a 12-month period known as the base year.

The base year is four calendar quarters (January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December). For Oregon claims, a Regular Base Year is the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed at the time you file your initial application. For example, if you file a new claim in May, your base year is all four quarters of the prior calendar year.

To qualify for a valid claim, your work and wages during the base period must meet one of the following two tests.

  1. Your total base period wages must be at least one and one half times the wages in the highest quarter in the base period and at least $1000 in wages earned in subject employment, or
  2. You must have worked 500 hours of subject employment.

Alternate Base Year:  Effective July 1, 2009, if you do not have enough wages and hours to qualify using a regular base year, your claim may be set up using an Alternate Base Year.  An Alternate Base Year uses wages and hours during the most recent four calendar quarters completed.  If you worked in the 3 month period immediately following the base year shown on your wage and potential benefit report, and you have not already asked the Employment Department to review your claim under the provisions of an Alternate Base year, please contact your UI Center. 

NOTE:  An Alternate Base Year claim can be filed only if you do not qualify for a claim using a Regular Base Year, or an unemployment claim against another state, even if filing those other claims results in a lower weekly benefit amount. 

The total benefits you can receive are set by law. Your initial claim sets up a benefit year during which you may receive benefits. Your benefit year starts with the week you file your initial claim and lasts for 52 weeks. If the wages during the qualifying period are at least $9,826, you will be eligible for 26 weeks of benefits during the 52 week period. If your qualifying wages are less, then the most you could receive is one third of those wages, paid at $126 a week. See Online Unemployment Insurance Estimator to obtain your estimated weekly benefit amount.

Subsequent Claims:  If you received benefits on an earlier claim, you must have worked and earned at least six times the weekly benefit amount of your second claim (after filing the first claim) for the second claim to be valid.  Note: If you qualify for a new claim, the Employment Department uses different quarters based on your new filing date.  If you worked only a little during your new base year, this could possibly result in a weekly benefit amount which is lower than your previous claim. 

Wage and Potential Benefit Report
After we process your initial application, we send you a report showing: 
  • The base year (the 12-month period on which your claim is based);
  • The Oregon employers you worked for in this period;
  • Wages paid to you for work you did in Oregon;
  • The number of hours worked; and
  • The benefits you can receive on your claim, based on this work alone.
Review this notice carefully. Make sure:
  • The wages showing are wages you were paid during this period; and
  • The employers listed are employers you worked for in Oregon during this period. 
If wages are missing, tell us so you can receive all the benefits you should. If you find mistakes, call your nearest Unemployment Insurance Center.  Mistakes may include missing employers, or employers for whom you never worked.  If your benefit amount is too high because of misreported wages in your base year, you will have to repay any overpayment.
If you file a claim, and it is not valid, and you worked in the 3 month period immediately following the base year shown on the form, you may be eligible for an Alternate Base Year claim, as explained above.  If you have not already done so, please contact your Unemployment Insurance center to determine if you qualify for benefits under the provisions of an Alternate Base Year. 
Some wages do not automatically show on your Wage and Potential Benefit Report. Tell us right away if you:
  • Worked in another state during your base year;
  • Were ill or injured and could not work at any time during your base year;
  • Worked for the Federal Government during your base year; or
  • Were in the military during your base year.
We have to ask for these wages to add them to your unemployment account. If you did not tell us this on your application, tell us now. Continue filing weekly claims for benefits if you are out of work while you wait for wages to be added to your claim. Once the wages have been added we will send you an updated wage and potential benefit report. 


Filing Weekly Claims
Receiving benefits requires actions on your part.  Use the Online Claim System or call the nearest  Unemployment Insurance Center to file your initial unemployment application.  The initial application is effective the week it is filed, so don’t delay filing your initial application.    If you wait two months to see if you can find other work, you will not be able to claim back weeks.  After your initial application is filed, you must use the Online Claim System or call the Weekly Claim Line to file a weekly claim for each week you wish to receive benefits. 
  • Look for work every week. Keep track of where you look for work or the dates you check with your employer or union about work.
  • Keep track of any days that you are sick or away from the area where you live and work.
  • Keep track of any hours you work and the money you earn during each week.
  • If you are offered work, be able to tell us about the job offer: name of the company and person you spoke to, the work offered and details about the job, such as the duties, pay, hours etc.

You will receive benefits provided you meet the eligibility requirements for each week you claim after serving a Waiting Week.

What can delay, stop, or reduce my benefits?
Benefits are payable only if you are eligible.  Common issues which require investigation and could result in you not receiving benefits include:
  • Quitting your job;
  • Being fired or suspended from work;
  • Missing an opportunity for work during a week you claim;
  • Refusing work;
  • Turning down or not contacting the employer when referred by a WorkSource Oregon office;
  • Missing a scheduled orientation meeting with a WorkSource Oregon office;
  • Illness or injury;
  • Failing to look for work;
  • School attendance;
  • Being out of the area unless you are looking for work;
  • Not being willing or ready to take work;
  • Receiving retirement pay, vacation pay, or holiday pay;
  • Skipping a week without restarting your claim; and
  • Answering a question on your weekly claim in a way that raises an issue.
If there is a problem, we will contact you either by phone or mail.  We will explain the problem and how it could affect your claim.  We will ask you for details about the situation.  Please reply quickly if you get a form to complete, a letter asking for information, or a telephone message; your benefits could be delayed until you answer.  If you do not answer at all, we may deny benefits.
Continue to make your weekly claims either online or on the Weekly Claim Line while we investigate your claim.
We will make a decision based on information from you, your employer or other sources.  If the decision allows benefits and you meet all eligibility conditions, we pay any benefits you have coming.  Any time we deny benefits, we send you a decision explaining why we denied benefits, for what time period, how to requalify, and how to appeal if you disagree.