Claimant Handbook

For each week that you claim, you must be:

  • Physically and mentally able to work,
  • Available for work, and
  • Actively seeking work.

To be available you must:

  • Accept full-time, part-time and temporary work,
  • Be willing and able to work all of the days and hours normal for the type of work you’re seeking,
  • Accept the normal rate of pay for that type of work, and
  • Be willing and able to commute a reasonable distance for the type of work sought.

You’re required to report when you aren’t available for work when any condition exists that prevents you from working, accepting work or seeking work. This may include travel, illness, injury, incarceration, school attendance, self-employment, and the loss of childcare or transportation.​​​​​​

Claims are randomly selected for audits each week. Auditors verify everything that affects your eligibility including work search, base year wages, reason for job separation, school attendance, incarceration, and earnings during any weeks claimed.​​

You can still claim a week of benefits if you leave the area where you live, but your claim will be stopped while we gather information about your travel. Leaving town for a day or two will not usually stop your benefits unless you miss any work.​​

Training or school attendance may interfere with your availability for work. You must report any school attendance or training to the UI Center. This includes any unpaid training required by an employer. Failure to report training or school attendance could result in an overpayment and penalties. (See Fraud)


If you’re in school and are interested in the Training Unemployment Insurance program, please see Training Unemployment Insurance (TUI).​​

Your involvement in self-employment may interfere with your availability for work. You must report any self-employment activities to the UI Center, even if you don’t have earnings from your self-employment. Failure to report your self-employment activities could result in an overpayment and penalties. (See Fraud)


If you’re interested in starting your own business, please see Self Employment Assistance (SEA).

If you claim benefits during any week you were incarcerated or jailed you must report on your weekly claim that you were not available for work. Your claim will be stopped while we gather information. Failure to report your incarceration or jail time could result in an overpayment and penalties. We receive a weekly report from Oregon jails and match it to claim records. (See Fraud)​

A key piece of your re-employment includes contacting employers who hire people with your experience, training and skills. Unless otherwise advised in writing by an Employment Department representative, you must continue seeking work each week that you claim benefits, even if you’re 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:

  • Attending job placement meetings or workshops (including WorkSource Oregon sponsored activities)
  • Networking
  • Updating your resume
  • Reviewing job placement websites or newspapers without responding to a job posting
  • Making direct contact with an employer


At least two of the five work seeking activities you complete each week must be direct contact with employers. This means contacting them in person, by phone, by mail, or electronically to inquire about and/or apply for work.


When you file for weekly benefits your report of work seeking activities must include:

  • Date of contact
  • Company name, phone number and address, or online job posting ID number
  • Person contacted (if applicable)
  • Type of work or position applied for
  • How contact was made (phone, resume, online application, email, etc.), and
  • Results of your contact (hired, not hired, interview, no response, etc.)

When reporting work search activities, include:

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

An Employment Search Record form is available online under Forms at the top of the page.

You’re not required to use this form, but you’re required to keep records of your weekly work search efforts and report those activities when making weekly claim reports.

Failure to provide this information when filing for weekly benefits may result in a denial of benefits and possible overpayments and penalties. (See Fraud)​

You are considered temporarily laid off if:

  • At the time of layoff you were given a date to return to work by your employer, and
  • The work you’re returning to is full time or pays at least your weekly benefit amount, and
  • Your return to work date is WITHIN FOUR WEEKS from when you were laid off. 

If you’re temporarily laid off, you’re actively seeking work if you stay in touch with your employer. If your return to full-time work is delayed, you must call the UI Center and begin seeking other work immediately.​

You are actively seeking work if;

  • You’re a member in good standing with your union, and
  • Your union doesn’t allow you to seek non-union work within your trade, and
  • You’re required by your union to get all of your work for your usual occupation through your union, and
  • You’re capable of accepting and reporting for work when dispatched by the union 

If you’re a member of a union and don’t meet the above, you must actively seek work by contacting employers (see What are my work search requirements?).​

You may be required to register for work in our iMatchSkills system and visit your local WorkSource Center to complete enrollment activities (the welcome process). After completing your claim application, you will receive a letter advising you how to register. Your benefits may be denied if not completed. You’re exempt from this requirement if you meet the requirements of being temporarily laid off (see TLO) or are a member of a union that does not allow you to seek non-union work within your trade. You can register with WorkSource Center online.


If you don’t have Internet access, you can register at your local WorkSource Center. You can’t register or enter your iMatchSkills information by phone.


We provide the following services to you free of cost and upon request: language assistance, auxiliary aids or services, alternate formats, such as Braille, large print, audio, oral presentation and electronic formats for individuals with disabilities or individuals with limited English proficiency.​​


Download the complete Claimant Handbook as a PDF:

Unemployment Insurance Contact Centers: 

Portland Area: (503) 292-2057

Salem Area: (503) 947-1500

Eastern/Central Oregon/Bend:

(541) 388-6207

TOLL FREE: (877) 345-3484


Weekly Claim Line Numbers:

Portland Area:

(503) 224-0405

Greater Salem Area:

(503) 375-7900

Eastern/Central Oregon/Bend:

(541) 388-4066

TOLL FREE: (800) 982-8920

TTY Relay Service 711​​​​​


PO Box 14135

Salem OR 97309-5068

Fax: (866) 345-1878​​