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The Oregon Employment Department, in partnership with Google, recently created an online Spanish-language application process for its Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

This new option will make it easier for Spanish-speaking customers to apply for PUA and file weekly claims. It will also speed up weekly benefit processing by ensuring that all required information is complete prior to submission.

PUA provides unemployment benefits to many Oregonians who are not working due to COVID-19 and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits. People who are self-employed, independent contractors, and some agricultural workers may be eligible for this program. PUA is not a form of public assistance, and anyone who is authorized to work in the U.S. is welcome to apply.

“Ensuring equal access to our programs is part of living our agency values of respect, integrity, and community,” said David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department. “I encourage our Spanish-speaking PUA claimants to use this new online process so we can get you your benefits as quickly as possible.”

To apply for or receive benefits through the new Spanish-language system, claimants should visit https://pua.emp.state.or.us/ and select “Español” from the top right drop-down menu. Claimants can resubmit their weekly claims through the new form if they have not already been paid for those weeks, though they do not have to. Claimants should not resubmit an initial claim if they have been notified that the claim was received. Resubmitting unpaid claims online will speed up how quickly claimants will get their benefits, and will let claims specialists focus on processing claims for those who have not yet received benefits.

To receive more guidance on using the Spanish-language form, Spanish-speaking PUA claimants should register for the Oregon Employment Department’s next webinar, scheduled for August 20 at 1 p.m. This webinar, which will be held in Spanish, will guide Oregonians on how to use the PUA form and answer questions. Register for the webinar at https://www.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_ORiyX-NdS5G3pLL6M2cWeQ.

PUA claimants can continue to submit their initial application and weekly certifications by PDF upload, mail, fax, or phone, though these will take longer to process than the more automated online claim form. Customers who need assistance in languages other than English can also call the Worksystems hotline at 503-606-6969 or send their name, phone number, and requested language to OED_LanguageAccess@oregon.gov.

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