Lots of self-employed Oregonians are still waiting on unemployment benefits months into the pandemic – KGW.com

3July 2020

OED strategies to process 70,000 backlogged claims in between late June and early August. Up until now, the department has actually only processed about 6% of those.

PORTLAND, Ore– Months into the pandemic we are still hearing numerous stories of individuals struggling to get benefits through the Pandemic Joblessness Help(PUA)program.

When the pandemic caused America’s economy to come to a screeching halt, Congress signed the CARES Act into law. It established the PUA program for self-employed, agreement and gig employees who lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and would otherwise not be qualified for joblessness insurance coverage.

The Oregon Employment Department (OED) says it moved resources towards a new initiative called Focus PUA. But lots of Oregonians state that hasn’t helped them

, and they’re out of options. KGW spoke with a musician/composer, massage therapist, dog-walker/pet-sitter,

graphic designer and professional photographer on Friday. Their hellish experiences applying for PUA in Oregon run the gamut, from calling hundreds of times every day and sitting on hold for hours, only to get

hung up on, to no communication whatsoever. RELATED:’How are you supposed to make it through on nothing?’: Meet self-employed contract employees in Oregon disappointed waiting on assistance

“Not hearing anything I feel absolutely forgotten,”said Wendy Bruder, a dog-walker and pet-sitter. “I had a truly bad mishap which type of simply made whatever actually frightening and different. So now I’m super stressed and still not hearing from anyone and it’s frightening and aggravating and

now I have some serious medical costs. ” Some received a one-time fat stack of checks. “I got some checks in the mail and I was like,’hallelujah,’ so excited about this. And after that the checks stopped,”said Megan Gregory, a massage therapist and life coach.”A girl I talked to stated they coded my thing incorrect. I handled to become hovered in between regular unemployment insurance, which I don’t get approved for, but not rather in PUA. I

‘m in a weird coding holding pattern.” “I started OK. I submitted and got 7 checks in one day so I believed,’that’s excellent.’ Then I kept filing and I am going into the seventh week now and I have not heard a thing,”musician Donn Rochlin informed KGW.”I want to concentrate on a solution. That’s

why I got on this call.”

Others state they keep getting tossed around in between work department employees and provided bad recommendations.”I wish that when you speak with somebody if you might get someone to write your information down and follow up with numerous people it would be a lot more valuable,”graphic designer Tasie Hampton said.”We’re just calling and calling and asking and pleading. Economically, I’m about practically through all my cost savings. Right now it’s getting really scary.”

“I seem like I’m literally in a cleaning maker and whenever I think I’m going to get out they’re like, ‘no, we’ve got to reboot this.’You’re simply back in it, tumbling around.

You can’t get any aid, “Hampton added.”It practically looks like individuals that are supposed to be providing the responses don’t have enough info to be providing responses,

“Gregory included. RELATED: Oregon still needs to process 70,000 Pandemic Unemployment Help claims

Through its new effort, Focus PUA, OED says it moved more resources to getting self-employed and gig employees’ PUA claims out of the logjam. Its goals are:

  • Speeding up claims processing over time. Improving technology used to get and process claims Increasing interaction with people who file claims by increasing staffing and enhancing phone lines

Oregon Employment Department Director David Gerstenfeld says the company prepares to get claims out of stockpile by working with Google to roll out a new online PUA application system this month.

OED strategies to process 70,000 backlogged claims between late June and early August. In one week the department has just processed about 6% of those, which is a little under 4,400 claims. That means it has more than 65,600 PUA claims alone to process over the next month to reach its goal.

The company’s data reveals more than 92,000 PUA claims have been submitted and just 23 % them have actually been paid out. For hard-working Oregonians who are still waiting for assistance, holding on

by a thread after depleting any cost savings they had, that simply will not suffice. One year back, Nicki Severson and her family moved to Oregon from Wisconsin, where she was a teacher, to begin her own photography business. She was building up her clientele when the pandemic hit. She is renting her home and said the property owners allowed them to pay for a year’s lease upfront just recently.

“For me that’s security, right? At least I understand I’ll have a place to live for the next year. So I needed to cash out my retirement fund,” Severson stated. “I can’t take things more than on a day-by-day basis since the tension of believing into the future, it overwhelms me.”

Lots of self-employed, agreement and gig workers have actually reached out to their lawmakers to see what they could do to repair the system, like improving the phone lines and technology OED uses. Some individuals inform us they have actually gotten calls back from legislators’ personnel who put their names on a list and appear happy to help.

RELATED: State employees lost hours on Instagram as joblessness backlog grew:’A great deal of us were playing on our phones’ RELATED: Oregon’s eviction ban extended through September Source: kgw.com
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