Oregon Unemployment

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File for Unemployment in Oregon

The Oregon Employment Department Online Initial Claim System is where you handle all of your unemployment needs. Through the system, you can claim weekly benefits, view the status of your weekly report, and restart claims or file a new claim. The Online Initial Claim System allows you to manage practically every aspect of your unemployment insurance claim, including changing your address, checking the status of your claim, setting up direct deposit information, changing your PIN, and making payments (if necessary).

Claims for unemployment insurance benefits are filed online during non-maintenance hours. The Oregon Employment Department Online Initial Claim System is not available during the following times:

  • 12:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.
  • 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the second Sunday of every month
  • 10:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. on weekdays
  • 8:00 pm Saturday until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday
  • 8:30 pm Sunday until 5:00 a.m. Monday

Unemployment Application and Initial Claim

File Your Unemployment Application and Initial Claim Process

Understanding how to file for unemployment with the Oregon Employment Department Online Initial Claim System is a relatively simple process.

Start out by clicking on “File A New Claim” and entering your social security number on the appropriate screen. Once you're finished, you need to fill out your application, which includes:

  • Your full name (including maiden names or names you used to go by)
  • Personal contact information (telephone, e-mail, etc.)
  • The names of your employers over the last 18 months
  • Information on your employment (such as type of job performed and dates of employment)
  • The reason you were let go
  • Any other relevant information asked of you

After you submit your application for unemployment insurance, you must also sign up for work registration. You can register at a local unemployment center, which can help make the process easier to handle, though every step involved can be done at home on your own computer.

Documents and Information Needed During Filing

  • Social security number
  • Driver’s license or state ID number
  • Current address
  • Telephone number
  • W2 forms  
  • Work history for the last 18 months
  • SF-8 or SF-50 forms for federal employees
  • Salary and income from each employer
  • Alien Registration Number (if not a citizen)

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Claim Weekly Benefits

You must submit a weekly claim to maintain eligibility to collect unemployment insurance. This can be done by logging into the Oregon Employment Department Online Initial Claim System and clicking on “Claim Weekly Benefits.”

Here, you are verifying that your employment status remains the same or, if it has changed, indicating how it is different. In this way, your benefits can be adjusted to fit your current employment situation.

How to Claim Weekly Benefits

Once you click on “Claim Weekly Benefits,” you will login using the information you created during your initial claim process. You must answer the following questions:

  • Were you available and able to work?
    • If not, why? Give a good explanation here.
  • Did you actively search for work this week?
    • If not, why? Again, give accurate information here.
    • If you did, include the name of at least five contacts (two of which must be direct contact), including:
      • Turning in an application
      • Any interview
      • Calling an employer about a job
      • Emailing an employer about a job
      • Turning in an application using Oregon's work search program
      • Attending a job fair
  • Did you earn any wages this week?
    • If you did, input an accurate amount. Failure to report wages accurately may result in criminal charges.
  • Did you accept suitable full-time work?
    • If so, with whom? What kind of work are you doing and how much are you getting paid?
  • Were you offered a suitable full-time job that you turned down?
    • If so, why?

Dependent upon your answers to these questions, your weekly claim will either be approved or denied. For example, you may be asked about pension or retirement pay; if you answer “yes” to earning wages, it could affect your weekly benefit amounts. Answering “no” to many of these questions without a good cause is likely to void your claim for the week.

Claim Denials or Discrepancies

All unemployment insurance appeals for claim denials or discrepancies are handled by The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). The OAH serves a variety of appeal needs across the state and is presided over by Chief Administrative Law Judge Gary Tyler.

Its mission statement is to provide “... an independent and impartial forum for citizens and businesses to dispute state agency action against them.”

When you want to file an appeal, you need to pick up an appeal form at a local unemployment office, fill out the relevant information (including name, social security number, the number on your determination, and the reasons why an appeal is necessary) and mail it to the address listed below.

You should receive a hearing notice within 10 days. This gives you time to gather evidence (including witnesses who can support your claim and written documentation) and prepare for your hearing. Dress properly and arrive on time to avoid cancellation of your hearing.

Appeals Process for Denied Claims

An appeals hearing is a fact-finding situation that helps the judge decide if you were wrongly denied unemployment benefits. It also serves as a forum for your employers to make claims against you.

During the hearing, you and all other witnesses will be put under oath and will testify as well as answer the following questions:

  • Was the denial of benefits proper?
  • Did anyone misreport information that may have led to the denial?
  • Why were you let go from your position?
  • What evidence is there to support either side of the case?

Answering these questions requires going through a trial-like process, where you (or an attorney) call witnesses, present evidence, and cross-examine your opponent's witnesses. All evidence and witnesses MUST be presented to the court before the hearing for approval.

After the appeal is over, you will receive a written decision a few days later. All unemployment benefits owed to you will be immediately paid if you win. If you do not win, your benefits will continue to be denied. You can appeal to higher level courts, if you like, but this can take months.

Office of Appeals Contact Information

Office of Administrative Hearings

Administrative Offices

Street address: 4600 25th Ave. NE, Suite 140

Salem, OR 97301

Mailing address: PO Box 14020 Salem, OR

Phone: 503-947-1918

Fax: 503-947-1531