SALEM - Historically the month of January is the busiest month for Oregonians filing for unemployment insurance benefits. This is typically due to a slow-down in manufacturing activity and seasonal layoffs after the holidays.
As a result, the Oregon Employment Department’s Unemployment Center phone lines often reach capacity, causing long hold times and even busy signals.
This year, the extension of the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program has added to the telephone traffic.
Currently, more than 100,000 individuals are claiming unemployment benefits in Oregon.
To ensure these individuals, and others needing assistance from the Oregon Employment Department, are served in a timely manner, the department offers the following tips:
1. Check online first.
There are those who need to speak to a representative to solve issues with their claim. However, for those who simply have questions, check online at www.WorkingInOregon.org. In most cases you will find the answers to your questions in the Frequently Asked Questions section, at the following web address: http://www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/UI/Pages/UI-Center-Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx, as well as other pages on the site. By going online, phone lines will be free for those who need assistance with their claims.
Also, you can file for a week of benefits, change your address, check the status of your claim, and much more at www.WorkingInOregon.org/ocs. If you do not have internet access at home, you may use public computers at any of the department’s WorkSource Oregon Centers.
2. Call during non-peak hours.
If you need to speak to someone about your claim, call the unemployment center later in the day and later in the week. The center phones are busiest on Mondays through Wednesdays. Calling later in the week in general will not delay your benefits and will increase your chances of speaking to a claims representative.
The Oregon Employment Department pays out more than $25 million per week to individuals out of work through no fault of their own. It is the department’s goal to make sure everyone entitled to these benefits are served as quickly and efficiently as possible. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time of heavy claim activity.