SALEM, OR (KPTV) - The Oregon Employment Department announced they sent out almost 40,000 lost wage assistance payments, but not everyone gets to keep them.
"It's hard to have an exact number. There are quite a few payments that we don't have the certifications for yet. The most recent number I saw was the mid 30,0000. Between 35,000 and 40,000," David Gerstenfeld, acting director for the Oregon Employment Department, said.
While there are some people who received the payments by mistake, most who were paid are eligible to keep the funds.
"For the relatively small number of people ultimately aren't eligible, to work through the best way for us to recover those amounts," Gerstenfeld said about those who aren't eligible.
Those who are eligible need to finish their certification.
"We're working through having some people focus on contacting them getting those certifications so that they know that they are eligible for those benefits, they can keep them," Gerstenfeld said.
But, how did those who aren't eligible get the payments by mistake?
"If I go back in time to when we rolled out the first new program, the pandemic unemployment compensation, the extra $600, we were layering that new program on top of regular unemployment insurance. Since then, we have had to roll out multiple other programs," Gerstenfeld said. "Each time that we add another layer on, it's more and more complicated when we make changes or roll out the next layer to make sure it interacts with all of those programs and all of the different ways people have moved from one claim to another, from one program to another."
The OED still has more than 40,000 claims in adjudication. They said they plan to process all of these claims by the end of the year.
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