PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - The Oregon Employment Department says it has made good progress with hundreds of thousands of claims for unemployment and is nearly caught up.

Some Oregonians, however, say they are still struggling to get paid, with one woman saying she has yet to receive an unemployment check.

For months, the Oregon Employment Department has racked up hundreds of thousands of unemployment claims. It's also paid out billions of dollars in benefits. The department now says their backlog of claims is getting smaller and smaller.

The department says of the 540,000 claims, just more than one thousand have not been processed. Gov. Kate Brown has praised their work.

"They’ve really done an extraordinary job and we’re working hard every day to make sure that every Oregonian gets the benefits that they deserve," Brown said. 

But for some, including Wainani Paikai, it's still a waiting game.

"It’s been a little bit frustrating," Paikai said.

Paikai says she started her job in March, and then about a month later found out she was moving to part-time.  She was supposed to get part-time benefits through the Work Share program. Then, she received even more bad news.

"About a month later, the end of May, my entire position was eliminated, so therefore I was on to regular unemployment benefits," Paikai said.

Paikai said while trying to file for unemployment, it created an issue, since she already had a claim in for work share benefits. But she says last month, she found out she was denied Work Share, and she's still going through the adjudication process for unemployment insurance.

"It’s been a little bit stressful," Paikai said. "I’m lucky that I have really good roommates who are really understanding and are able to take the brunt of my rent for a little while."

On Wednesday, the unemployment department announced a new program to still get benefits for people who are in adjudication and qualify for unemployment.

"So, while there is still a wait period, people will receive benefits while they’re waiting for that process to complete," David Gerstenfeld, acting director for the Oregon Employment Department, said.

The department says for those who qualify to receive payments while waiting, it will be reaching out to them. The department also noted that the extra $600 a week provided through the Cares Act has ran out, and if anyone now needs assistance with housing and food, to call 211.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(7) comments

Delta85

Hello! Where ohhh where is the leader of the state? To busy flexing her muscles against Trump to worry about Oregonians! You liberals just keep electing anyone with a D next there name and don't care about qualifications so we get this kind of leadership..... None existing wooohooo making Oregon great again right Katie?

Erik Erlow Eeckhart

I'm sure Kate will blame things 'out of our control' and take no responsibility for this, heck she may even raise in the polls.

sagebrush

The people in charge aren't depending on this money, so they don't care. Oregon was given millions to fix the system and didn't. The governor will only start caring in a couple of years when she is up for reelection. Then she will pass the blame onto someone else and the liberal voters will again put her in office. You can't fix stupid.

no1uno

I know a person who was laid off in March, filed a claim but denied. Although this person received a W-2, his employer never reported to the state. His claim has been pending since the end of March, the state claims they will make a decision by Friday, right! The state should pay his claim and go after his ex-boss, who actually fired this person after five years of employment for asking about this after his claim was denied. People cannot live on pending. How can you support your family on pending. State wastes no time if they want money from you, should be the same for taxpayers. Figure it out please !!

Delta85

Do the people we elect really care about Oregonians? Fix the problem governor!

No kids going to school, No doing anything all summer long... Well, unless you are into protesting have it. I am flat out tired of the state government being so wishy washy. You are elected to care for the people not to push your personal agenda's against Trump the GOP! Just stop and do what you are paid to do!

Roberto Estrello Demar

If somebody in the bureaucracy was really interested in doing their job they could dominate the place in a month, and would risk being fired as soon as The State discovered what was really happening.

commentor

'State employment department making progress, but some Oregonians are still struggling to get paid' Ultimately it is Kate Brown who is responsible for the employment department boondoggle.

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