Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Available in Oregon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 28, 2020 CONTACT INFORMATION
Gail Kiles Krumenauer, Communications Director
Phone: (503) 947-1268

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Available in Oregon

Starting yesterday, the Oregon Employment Department is providing unemployment benefits through the CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. In preparation, the agency has recruited and trained staff to process PUA claims.

Eligibility
Oregonians who are eligible for this program include individuals who do not qualify for or cannot collect benefits on a regular unemployment insurance claim. This includes Oregonians who:
• are self-employed and not subject to unemployment insurance tax;
• perform work as an independent contractor;
• perform work not subject to unemployment insurance tax, such as agricultural workers;
• did not earn enough in wages or work enough hours to qualify for regular unemployment benefits;
• exhausted regular unemployment benefits, and are not eligible for another extension.

In addition, to be eligible, you must be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable and unavailable for work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Covered situations include individuals who:
• are directly caring for a member of the household diagnosed with COVID-19;
• have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are seeking a medical diagnosis for COVID-19;
• are unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
• are primary caregivers for a child or person in the household who is unable to attend school or another facility closed due to COVID-19, and that attendance is required for their work;
• were scheduled to start a new job and were unable to because the business closed as a direct result of COVID-19 public health emergency; or
• owned or worked for a business that closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal law provides that PUA benefits are retroactive to the first week a worker was impacted by a qualifying COVID-19 reason, potentially from the week starting February 2, 2020 through the week ending December 26, 2020. The PUA process can take as little as one week or several weeks, depending on the claim complexity.

How to Apply
Please access the PUA application and certification forms on the CARES Act section of the Employment Department’s COVID-19 web page. There are three ways to start a new application for PUA benefits.

E-mail: You can email OED_PUA_INFO@oregon.gov to request a secure email link, then attach your PUA application and weekly claim reports to the secure email. Please only use the secure e-mail link we send to provide personal identifying information relevant to your claim.

Mail: You can mail your PUA application and weekly claim reports to Oregon Employment Department at P.O. Box 14165, Salem, OR 97311.

Fax: We have several fax machines linked to the 503-371-2893 fax number for your PUA application and weekly claim reports.

The CARES Act page also provides information for self-employed, contract, gig, and other PUA-eligible workers who filed regular claims for unemployment benefits prior to the start of the program.
Equal Opportunity program — auxiliary aids and services available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Contact: (503) 947-1794. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

Washington County COVID-19 Grant & Loan Program

Washington County

In partnership with Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) and funding non-profit Craft3, Washington County announced a grant and loan program today to help small businesses weather the new coronavirus pandemic over the short-term. 

The programs will provide $300,000 in grants and close to $875,000 in small and medium-sized loans to eligible businesses. Grant and loan applications will be reviewed to prioritize businesses that have historically faced a systemic lack of access to banking resources. Funds from both sources can be used to cover expenses like payroll and benefits, rent or mortgage payments and utilities.

“Washington County is home to several thousand small businesses who serve as the backbone of our local economy,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington. “We know that the resources we are offering through this business assistance program will not be enough to reach all businesses, but we are doing our part to find ways to stretch those dollars, with recognition of communities that have historically been underserved. We are grateful for the expertise, resources and partnership with MESO and Craft3. I especially want to thank Commissioners Jerry Willey and Pam Treece for their leadership in this effort. On behalf of the entire Board of Commissioners, I appreciate everyone’s hard work and sacrifice to keep our community, neighbors and workplaces safe.”

Eligible businesses would need to be:

  • Physically located in Washington County and serving county residents; 
  • Negatively affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic;
  • If part of a chain, an individually owned franchise
  • An employer of no more than 25 individuals on or before February 28, 2020; 
  • A business that has not received funds from similar programs established within the county (i.e. cities, Washington County Visitors Association, etc.); Businesses that have received federal, state or other aid that is available countywide would still qualify; and
  • A business that has been in operation for at least one year.

Applications will be available beginning 8 a.m. April 15 and open until 5 p.m. April 16.

All applications that are submitted will be reviewed to meet eligibility requirements and to ensure county goals of reaching across the county and providing resources to businesses that have historically faced difficulty accessing banking tools. The applications are available on the county’s website for business assistance:

Businesses with questions should contact John Southgate, the county’s economic development contractor, at john@johnsouthgateconsulting.com or Alex Vidal, staff assistant to the Board of Commissioners, at Alex_Vidal@co.washington.or.us.  

–Philip

Philip Bransford | Communications Officer
Pronouns: he/him/his
Washington County Administrative Office

Latest Update: Limiting Riders on Buses

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We’ll be limiting how many people are allowed on buses starting the evening of April 2. No more than 10-15 riders can be on a bus at one time — 10 individuals, or up to 15 if people are riding together (such as couples or parents with children).

This is to make sure people have enough space to spread out and to prevent overcrowding. If a bus has 10-15 riders, it will not pick up new passengers until someone exits. We’ll try to adjust service if buses are consistently full, but you may still want to leave extra time for your trip.

We’ll also be adding signs to some bus seats that will ask riders not to sit in them. These signs will be arranged to give riders a safe amount of space from each other and the operator.

There are a lot of essential workers keeping our community going right now — make sure you leave them a seat so they can get to work. Please stay off transit unless you’re heading to or from an essential job, or you’re traveling to the grocery store or pharmacy.

We know these all these recent changes haven’t been easy or convenient — we’ve been asking a lot from you. But these restrictions will help our community get through this, so we can get back to serving you normally as soon as possible. We’re as eager for that day as you are. Stay safe (and stay home!)