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U.S. Department of Labor turning off Extended Benefits Program…switching to a different source of federal funds…

Today the U.S. Department of Labor informed the Oregon Employment Department that it is turning off Oregon’s Extended Benefits (EB) program because of Oregon’s declining unemployment rate. With this federal decision, up to 13 weeks of EB no longer will be available after Feb. 20, 2021.

“Extended Benefits has been an important safety net that has helped many Oregonians make ends meet. Fortunately, the Continued Assistance Act is providing another safety net, and EB claimants will be able to move to the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for an additional 11 weeks,” said David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department.

Extended Benefits (EB) is a program that extends regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits when a state is at high unemployment. The average unemployment rate is reviewed at the federal level over a three-month period to determine if the state goes into this extension. If the average unemployment rate is below 8% but at or above 6.5%, then up to 13 weeks of additional benefits are available under EB.

The ending of EB will not happen immediately. Claimants can continue receiving EB benefits for three weeks, and should continue filing EB claims through Feb. 20, 2021. After this date, the Employment Department will move claimants to PEUC so claimants will not need to restart their claims. This switch from EB to PEUC may require manual changes, delaying some PEUC payments. All payments will be made retroactively and claimants will not lose out on any weeks of benefits they are eligible for.

In the event that this improvement to the unemployment rate is temporary and Oregon’s unemployment rate increases to 6.5% or higher, OED will not need to meet the statutory 13-week delay period to turn EB on, per a recent authorization from Governor Brown.

For more information about Extended Benefits, visit the Employment Department’s EB FAQ.

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