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Unemployment Insurance Definitions and Acronyms
 
Note:  the following definitions are summaries and do not carry legal weight in any benefit determination.  Most of these terms are specifically defined in ORS Chapter 657 or in our administrative rules.

UI Definitions
 

Administrative decision
 
An administrative decision is an informal or written decision that determines a claimant’s eligibility for benefits.  The decision can allow, deny or reduce benefits.  Administrative decisions can be appealed if they are issued in writing. 
 
 
 
Able to work
 
‘Able to work” means you are physically and mentally able to work each week you claim. 
 
 
 
Actively seeking work
 
‘Actively seeking work’ means contacting multiple employers every week for the purpose of obtaining work.  Members of closed unions are considered to be actively seeking work by remaining on contact with their union, and being available to be sent out to work.
 
 
 
Administrative Law Judge
 
An administrative hearing officer who conducts lower authority appeal hearings to obtain evidence and then make a determination of eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits.
 
 
 
Appeal
 
An appeal is a request to have a decision reviewed by a higher authority resulting in a new decision.  Administrative decisions which are appealed are re-investigated by an Administrative Law Judge.  The judge conducts a hearing and then issues a new decision, affirming, modifying or overturning the original decision.
 
 
 
Available for work
 
Being ‘available for work’ means being willing to work all days and shifts normal for your occupation. It also includes being available for permanent, temporary, full time and part-time work.  Individuals who are limited to part time work because of a permanent or long-term disability, may still be eligible for benefits.


Base year (or period)
 
A specified period of 12 consecutive months preceding the beginning of a benefit year during which an individual must have the required employment and/or wages in order to establish entitlement to unemployment insurance benefits.  For Oregon claims, the base year is the first four of the last five calendar quarters completed prior to the time you first file your initial application.
 
 
 
Base year extension
 
The base year (of four quarters) can be extended backwards to include additional quarters if a claimant was totally disabled during the majority of any of the four quarters of the base year.  This extension will frequently result in a valid claim in cases where the standard base year lacks sufficient wages to qualify for a weekly and maximum benefit amount.
 
 
 
Base year employer
 
An employer who paid wages to an individual for work performed in the base year used to establish a valid account for unemployment insurance benefits.
 
 
 
Benefit year
 
The benefit year is the 52 week period during which a claim’s benefits are payable.
 
 
 
Calendar Quarter
 
A period of three consecutive calendar months ending on March 31, June 30, September 30, or December 31.
 
 
 
Claimant
 
A totally or partially unemployed individual who has filed a claim for unemployment benefits.
 
 
 
Combined-Wage Claim
 
A claim filed in one state where the eligibility for benefits is based on base year wages that were earned in multiple states and combined by the paying state.
 
 
 
Covered Employment
 
An employer whose length and conditions of employment meet the criteria for liability for payment of taxes under the state or federal unemployment insurance law.  (also known as subject employment)
 
 
 
Denial
 
A week by week denial of benefits.
 
 
 
Disaster
Unemployment
Assistance (DUA)
 
An unemployment program funded by FEMA, but operated by state employment agencies.  DUA is payable when the President declares an area to be a disaster area and the disaster allows for individual assistance.
 
 
 
Disqualification
 
A disqualification of benefits until the claimant re-qualifies.  Disqualifications resulting from leaving work without good cause or being discharged for misconduct require a claimant to work and earn four times their weekly benefit amount in new, covered employment.
 
 
 
Effective date
 
The first day of the calendar week the claimant files for benefits.  Oregon claims are made effective on the Sunday of the calendar week they are filed.
 
 
 
Employment Appeals Board
 
A three member panel appointed by the Governor to review, on appeal, decisions issued by Administrative Law Judges.  Employment Appeals Board decisions are subject to appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals. 
 
 
 
Exhausted Benefits
 
This results when all of the benefits for which you are eligible have been paid.
 
 
 
Expired
 
The term expired is used to describe an unemployment claim that is no longer within the 52 week benefit year.  A claim filed January 1, 2009, will expire 52 weeks later on December 26, 2009.  Expired claims are no longer payable unless they qualify for an extension.
 
 
 
Extensions
 
In periods of high unemployment, unemployment claims can be extended beyond their normal benefit year.  Federal extensions can add 13 to 20 or more weeks, depending upon Congressional actions. Extended Benefits (EB) pays an additional 13 or 20 weeks, depending on the Oregon’s unemployment rate. 
 
 
 
Fact-Finding Interview
 
A scheduled telephone interview with a adjudicator to gather information about a specific issue and make a determination of eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits. The facts gathered in the interview are used to make a determination to allow or deny payment of benefits.
 
 
 
Fraud
 
The willful misrepresentation or nondisclosure of a material fact by a claimant for the purpose of obtaining benefits to which the individual is not entitled.
 
 
 
Good cause
 
Good cause, as it relates to voluntarily leaving work, means encountering a situation of such gravity that a reasonable and prudent person of normal sensitivity, exercising ordinary common sense, has no reasonable alternative but to leave work.
 
 
 
Hearing
 
When an administrative decision is appealed, a hearing is scheduled, where all interested parties are invited to submit testimony and be questioned by the other parties.  The hearing is conduced by an Administrative Law Judge who will direct the questioning and issue a new decision.  Most hearings are held by phone and last about an hour.  Hearing decisions are subject to a appeal to the Employment Appeals Board.
 
 
 
iMatchSkills
 
iMatchSkills is a service provided by the Oregon Employment Department that connects job seekers with employers who have job openings.  iMatchSkills allows individuals to register their education, experience and job skills.  Then, the iMatchSkills system matches individual registrations with job listing requirements submitted by employers.
 
 
 
Interstate claim
 
An interstate claim is an unemployment claim paid by Oregon (based on work in Oregon), payable to a claimant now living in another state, Canada, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico or the District of Columbia.
 
 
 
Issue
 
An act, circumstance, or condition which could potentially deny or disqualify you from receiving benefits.
 
 
 
Lag Quarter
 
The quarter between the end of a base period and the quarter which includes the effective date of your initial application.
 
 
 
Maximum benefit amount (MBA)
 
The maximum benefit amount represents the total benefits payable during a benefit year.  Maximum benefit amounts are the lesser of 26 times your Weekly Benefit Amount or one third of your base year wages.
 
 
 
Misconduct
 
An act of wanton or willful disregard of the employer’s interest, a deliberate violation of the employer’s rules, a disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his or her employee, or negligence in such degree or recurrence as to manifest culpability, wrongful intent or evil design, or show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer’s interest or of the employee’s duties and obligations to the employer.
 
 
 
Monetary determination
 
A monetary determination is a written notice issued to inform you of the weekly and maximum benefit amounts potentially payable on a claim. 
 
 
 
Non-valid claim
 
An unemployment claim that is not payable because the weekly and maximum benefit amount are zero.  This most often occurs when there are insufficient wages in the base year to qualify for benefits. 
 
 
 
Offset
 
An offset occurs when an existing overpayment is deducted from benefits payable for a week.
 
 
 
Overpayment
 
An amount of benefits paid to an individual to which the individual was not legally entitled. An overpayment occurs when benefits were paid due to staff error, claimant mistake or fraud.  Claimants who are overpaid are liable to repay the overpaid amounts to the Employment Department. 
 
 
 
Partial Unemployment
 
A week in which an individual works less than regular full-time hours for his/her regular employer because of lack of work, and earns less than their weekly benefit amount but enough that, if eligible, the individual receives less than his/her full weekly benefit payment.
 
 
 
Penalty week
 
A penalty week is a week of unemployment, which is otherwise eligible for payment, that remains unpaid to satisfy a disqualification for fraudulently claiming benefits.
 
 
 
Reimbursable Employer
 
Certain nonprofit organizations, State or local government and political subdivisions which elect or are required to pay into the State unemployment fund, a sum in lieu of contributions as provided in unemployment law.
 
 
 
Requalification
 
A process by which a claimant re-establishes eligibility for unemployment insurance following a determination of ineligibility and a period of disqualification.  For instance, a claimant who is disqualified for leaving work without good cause can requalify by finding new subject employment and earning four times their weekly benefit amount.
 
 
 
Restart
 
A restart means to re-activate an existing unemployment claim after the claimant ceased claiming.
 
 
 
Subject employment
 
An employer whose length and conditions of employment meet the criteria for liability for payment of taxes under the state or federal unemployment insurance law. (also known as covered employment)
 
 
 
Unemployed
 
Any week in which you perform no services and receive no wages or perform less than full-time work if the gross wages payable for that week are less than your weekly benefit amount.
 
 
 
Unemployment Insurance
 
Unemployment insurance is a monetary benefit available to workers who are out of work through no fault of their own.  The money for benefits comes from employers. No contributions for unemployment insurance come from employee wages.
 
 
 
Valid claim
 
An unemployment claim that has a payable weekly and maximum benefit amount as the result of having sufficient wages in the base year. 
 
 
 
Waiting week
 
A week of unemployment for which a claimant does not receive compensation but must meet the same eligibility requirements that are necessary to qualify for benefits for subsequent weeks during the benefit year.  Every new benefit year requires a Waiting Week.  The Waiting Week cannot start until you file your new claim.
 
 
 
Week ending date
 
A benefit week runs from Sunday through Saturday. The week ending date is always a Saturday date.
 
 
 
Weekly benefit amount (WBA)
 
A benefit amount based on how much money you made during your base year. The more wages employers paid you during the base year, the more your benefit amount will be. The amount is set at 1.25% of the total base year wages, up to a maximum amount set by law.
 
 
 
Weekly claim
 
Once an initial application establishes a valid unemployment account, claimants establish eligibility for unemployment insurance on a week by week basis.  Weekly claims are typically filed using our Online Claim System or the telephone Weekly Claim line.
 
 
 
Weekly claim line
 
The weekly claim line is an automated telephone system that allows claimants to file their weekly unemployment claims.  The interactive voice system asks questions that can be answered with a ‘yes’, ‘no’, or a number response.
 
 
 
Worker Profiling
 
A program where claimants are selected who are likely to exhaust benefits, and are provided reemployment services, such as job search assistance through a local office or one-stop partner.
 
 
 
WorkSource Oregon
 
WorkSource Oregon is a statewide network of public and private partners working together to help Oregon's unemployed and underemployed get connected with the employers. Local WorkSource agencies can be located here.

Commonly Used Acronyms
 

BYE
 
Benefit Year Ending (week)
 
 
 
CID
 
Customer Identification Number
 
 
 
CSI
 
Child Support Intercept
 
 
 
CWC
 
Combined Wage Claim
 
 
 
DOL
 
Department of Labor (Federal) (Also U.S.D.O.L.)
 
 
 
DUA
 
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
 
 
 
EAB
 
Employment Appeals Board (second level appeals)
 
 
 
EB
 
Extended Benefits (an extension)
 
 
 
EUC
 
Emergency Unemployment Compensation (an extension)
 
 
 
FUTA
 
Federal Unemployment Tax Act
 
 
 
IVR
 
Interactive Voice Responses
 
 
 
MBA
 
Maximum Benefit Amount
 
 
 
NV
 
Non-Valid
 
 
 
OAR
 
Oregon Administrative Rule
 
 
 
OAH
 
Office of Administrative Hearings (first level appeals)
 
 
 
OCS
 
Online claims system
 
 
 
ORS
 
Oregon Revised Statute
 
 
 
SAVE
 
Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlement
 
 
 
SEA
 
Self Employment Assistance (a UI program)
 
 
 
SOIL
 
Set Off Individual Liability (income tax refund applied to a UI overpayment)
 
 
 
SSN
 
Social Security Number
 
 
 
TRA
 
Trade Readjustment Allowance (a Federal unemployment insurance program)
 
 
 
TUI
 
Training unemployment insurance
 
 
 
UCFE
 
Unemployment Compensation For Federal Employees
 
 
 
UCX
 
Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemen
 
 
 
UI
 
Unemployment Insurance
 
 
 
WBA
 
Weekly Benefit Amount
 
 
 
WIA
 
Workforce Investment Act
 
 
 
WW
 
Waiting Week, the first week of a claim, which is not paid.