OED Responds to Class Action Suit Details

Correction: This article had a headline referring to the Oregon Employment Department as the DOE when it should have read OED. The article has been updated to reflect this.

Oregon Employment Department Communications Officer Patty Jo Angelini took exception to the semantics of a Nov. 6 article in The Advocate on benefits adjudication.  

The article reported that claims are moved into adjudication when there stands a discrepancy in payment reporting. However, Angelini said a claim is moved into adjudication when a person’s eligibility for benefits is unclear. Scenarios that may cause such confusion include when a person quits their job, is fired, declines a work opportunity, or in myriad other situations.  

According to the report, there was a discrepancy of roughly 50,000 claimants stuck in adjudication in reports from separate employment offices. Angelini clarified that “The adjudication numbers in the legal case recently reported on are an answer to a specific (and broader) request, looking at a specific (and broader) timeframe. It includes claims that may need adjudication and many that will not need to be adjudicated.” 

She said 41,000 of the 96,000 are being tracked through adjudication — the rest of the claims are made up of about 18,000 recipients of the Benefits While You Wait program and those who have one or more weeks of benefits in suspense, meaning eligibility requirements must be verified. 

“Adjudication is a complex and very individualized and case-specific process required by the U.S. Department of Labor,” Angelini said. “Timeframes are dependent on the complexity of the facts in case that need to be resolved. Some cases can be resolved rather quickly once they are assigned, while others require more experienced adjudicators to do a more thorough review to ensure an accurate decision is made.” 

Angelini said the department is doing everything in its power to speed-up payment to Oregonians in need.  

By Gabriel Perry