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Unemployment Benefits FAQ

What can I expect after I file my unemployment application?

Whether you file your initial unemployment application online or by telephone, staff need to process the  application.  This can take a few days when workload is heavy.  Once the application is processed, we mail you a Wage and Potential Benefit Report and a Claimant Handbook
On the first Sunday or Monday after you filed your application, file a claim for the prior week.  You can file your claim for the prior week  online or by phone on our Weekly Claim Line.  You need to file a weekly claim for each week you are unemployed and wish to receive benefits, including your first or “waiting week.“
If there are any issues on your claim to investigate, be sure to respond to all letters or telephone messages right away.  Continue to make your weekly claims while we investigate.  If you don’t make a weekly claim, we can’t begin the investigation.  It can take three to four weeks to complete the investigation. 
You may be scheduled to attend an orientation meeting at a WorkSource Oregon office.  If you do not go, your benefits will be delayed while we investigate.  Depending on the reason you didn’t go, your benefits could be denied.

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How do I get my PIN? And what is a CID?

Personal Identification Number
You chose a Personal Identification Number (PIN) when you first filed your initial unemployment application, whether you filed online or by telephone.  You will use the same PIN throughout your claim.  You will need it whenever you access the Online Claim System and to claim weekly benefits whether online or by telephone. 
Agency employees do not know your PIN.  If you forget it, you will have to ask us reset it so that you can choose a new PIN.  You are responsible for the security of your PIN.  Do not share it with anyone and don’t let others use it. 
Claimant Identification Number
Your Claimant Identification Number (CID) is a number assigned only to you at the time you filed your initial unemployment application.  We use it on the documents we send to you as a way to safeguard your claim and Social Security number from identity theft.  You will need your CID to change your address or apply for direct deposit through the Online Claim System. .  We will not give out your CID, even to you if you call, so please keep a record of it. 

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What is a Waiting Week?

The Waiting Week is the first week on your claim in which you meet all eligibility requirements.  You do not receive payment for your waiting week.  Every unemployment account must have a Waiting Week before we can start making benefit payments.   
Important:  You must claim the week in order for it to be your Waiting Week.  Simply filing your application does not give you credit for your waiting week.

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When can I expect my first payment

If your unemployment account is valid and no adjudication issues exist, the first week you claim will be credited as your Waiting Week(see above).   If no other issues arise, your first payment will be issued in the third week.  If you submit your weekly claim on Sunday or Monday of the week, payment will be issued on Tuesday.   Electronic payments issued on Tuesday normally arrive in claimant accounts on Wednesday.

Week 1
You file your initial unemployment application.
Week 2
File your weekly claim for week 1
Notice of waiting week credit mailed.
Notice of waiting week credit received
Week 3
File your weekly claim for week 2
First payment issued by paper check.
First payment received by paper check.
Week 4
File your weekly claim for week 3
Second payment issued electronically.
Second payment received in bank or ReliaCard account.
 Note:  Federal or bank holidays will delay payment receipt.

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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.

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What if my benefit payment is late?

If there are no problems on your claim, you can expect your weekly claim filed on Sunday or Monday to be processed on Monday night.  However, if there was a holiday on Monday of the week, your payment will be delayed by a day. 
If you are eligible, your first payment is issued as a check mailed to your home.  After that, benefit payments are deposited either onto the Reliacard or directly into your bank account, if you signed up for electronic deposit. Payments are deposited 2 business days after your weekly claim is processed. 
  • If you use Electronic Deposit and your bank account changes, be sure to give us the new account information by submitting another Electronic Deposit application.  If we try to deposit payments on a closed account, it will cause a delay while we reissue the payment to your Reliacard. 
  • Even if you apply for Electronic Deposit, we will send you a Reliacard.  Please keep it in case we ever have a problem depositing payments to your bank account.
  • For security purposes, the Reliacard is sent in a plain white envelope and does not say it is from the Oregon Employment Department. 
If you do not receive payment within that timeframe, first check the status of your claim online or by calling the Weekly Claim Line.
If you call the Weekly Claim Line, you will hear menu options.  Press “2” for payment information about your weekly claim.  You will then hear one of five messages containing instructions about what you should do next.  The messages are:
  • The week doesn’t show as claimed;
  • The week was paid;
  • The week cannot be paid;
  • It is too soon to tell because the week has not been processed; or
  • The computer cannot find a claim for you.
If the status of the week is paid, and you are waiting for a check, remember that only your first payment is in the form of a check.  All later benefits are deposited onto your Reliacard or bank account.  If you haven’t received your first check, the status shows paid, and you have waited at least 10 days, please call your Unemployment Insurance Center to put a tracer on the check. 

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Do I qualify for extended benefits

See our section on extended benefits 

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How do I change my mailing address?

You can change your mailing address through the Online Claim System  You will need to enter your Social Security number, your customer ID number (CID) and your PIN in order to access the address change screen.  Your CID is printed on every document we mail you.
You can also call your UI Center or notify us in writing of your address change, even if you have stopped reporting. 
Each January, we mail out Form 1099G, Statement for Recipients of Unemployment Compensation Payments, for use in filing your tax returns. We mail the form to the latest mailing address we had on each claim.  If we don’t have your current address on file, the Post Office will not forward the form. 
Note:  Changing your address in the iMatchskills program or with the Post Office does not change it on your claim record.

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What are my work search requirements?

What must I do to stay eligible each week?

You must seek work immediately. You must be able to work, available for work and actively seeking work during each week that you claim. This includes being available for work and actively seeking full-time, part-time, permanent and temporary work.

How do I seek work?

A key piece of your plan will be contacting employers who hire people with your experience, training and skills. You must continue to look for work each week you claim benefits.  You must do this even if you are already employed part-time, unless otherwise advised by an Employment Department representative. Your efforts must reflect a genuine desire to obtain employment immediately.


If you are:

  • Not returning to work for your last employer
  • Returning to work for your last employer but not within four (4) weeks from your last day you worked for that employer
  • Not sure when you will be returning to work for your last employer
    Working part time

You must complete at least five work seeking activities for each week that you claim benefits. Work seeking activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Registering for job placement services with WorkSource Oregon
  • Attending job placement meetings sponsored by WorkSource Oregon
  • Participating in a job club or networking group dedicated to job placement
  • Updating your resume
  • Reviewing job placement websites or newspapers without responding to a job posting
  • Making direct contact with an employer

Two of the five work seeking activities you complete each week must be direct contact with an employer. This means contacting them in person, by phone, by mail, or electronically to inquire about and/or apply for a job opening. You must contact the employer in the way they require.

When you claim benefits your report of work seeking activities must include:

  • The date you completed the activity, and
  • A description of the activity completed

When reporting direct contact with an employer, be sure to include:

  • Date of contact,
  • Company name, phone number and address, or online job posting ID number,
  • Person contacted,
  • Type of work or position applied for,
  • Method of contact, and
  • Results


Union Members

You are considered actively seeking work if:

  • You belong to a union that does not let you seek work on your own, and
  • You get all of your work through that union hiring hall, and
  • You are on the union’s referral list, and
  • You remain in contact with that union each week you claim.

If you belong to a union that allows you to seek work on your own, you must seek work by contacting employers within your trade.


Temporary Layoff

You are considered actively seeking work if:

  • You are laid-off and have a definite date to return to full-time work, and
  • That date is within four weeks from your last day you worked for that employer, and
  • You remain in contact with that employer each week you claim.

Contact the UI Center right away if your return to work is delayed.  You must complete five work seeking activities if your return to work with your former employer is delayed.

Work Search Record forms are available in the back of your Claimant Handbook.


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How do I start or stop tax withholding?

You can choose to have state or federal taxes, both, or neither withheld from your benefits.  You can change your withholding after filing your claim, but tax regulations require changes to tax withholding be made in writing.  Complete an Authorization for Tax Withholding, Form 1040WH, and mail your request to the Employment Department at PO Box 14135, Salem, OR  97309 or fax it to (866) 345-1878.  Be sure to include your name and either Social Security number or customer ID number (CID).

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Can the Department give out information about my claim?

We have very strict rules about releasing information.  Certain state and federal agencies can get information from us, but only what they need to do their jobs. 
If you want us to be able to give information about your claim to a specific friend or family member, you must complete and return a Release of Information Authorization form before we can do that.

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How does retirement pay affect my benefits?

Retirement pay could reduce your benefits, make you ineligible, or have no effect at all.  If you are not eligible for periodic payments, it has no effect.  If an employer for whom you worked during the base year of your claim either contributed to the retirement fund or maintained it, then your retirement pay is deducted dollar for dollar. 
Social Security does not affect your benefits unless you do not want to work full time, put limits on the type of work you will do, or if you do not want to look for work any more.

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Can the Department reduce my benefits for child support payments?

Yes.  If you owe child support payments and there is a court order requiring deductions, a percentage is deducted from your benefits each week.  The deductions continue until the court notifies us to stop.
Oregon Department of Justice - Division of Child Support

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What if I work for a temporary agency?

If you work for a temporary or employee leasing agency, you may receive benefits between assignments or if you are working part time.  You must still meet all other eligibility requirements. 
You are an employee of the agency even if you always work at other businesses.  When restarting your claim after working for a temporary or employee leasing agency, list the agency as your employer, not the business you were sent to help.  Also, tell us the reason the assignment ended; lack of work (completed the assignment), quitting (leaving the assignment before it ends), or being fired (taken off the assignment before it ends).
Assignments may last a few hours or days, or may continue for months.  When your assignment ends always check in with your agency at once.  They may have a new assignment for you.  If you refuse a new assignment, you may be disqualified from receiving benefits.

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Where can I get help finding a job?

The Employment Department provides a broad range of services to assist in your return to work.  Employer job listings, resume writing resources, career exploration tools and labor market information are among the services provided. Staff is available to assist you and introduce you to the services that will benefit you in your work search.

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I filed a claim but it is not showing online?

During times of high workload, new claims can take up to 2 weeks to be processed into our system.  If you received a confirmation number at the end of the claim application, you have filed a claim.  Once we process the claim you can view the status online.  In the meantime, you should make weekly claim reports for any weeks you want benefits. 
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I don't know why the system won't let me claim last week?

Typically, this happens when you skip a weekly claim in error or fail to restart/reopen a claim after weeks you intended to skip.  You must call the UI Center to either restart or reopen your claim when this happens. 
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Do I qualify for a claim?

We cannot make any claim determination until you file a claim.  Once filed and processed, we will mail a Wage and Potential Benefit Report (monetary eligibility). 
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