Oregon Employment Department to Process 38,000 Backlogged Unemployment Claims

  38,000 backlogged unemployment claims have accumulated since the COVID-19 pandemic caused an extreme surge in applications beginning in March. 

On Tuesday, Oregon Employment Department director Kay Erickson announced “Project Focus 100,” with details as to how the office plans to process 100 percent of these backlogged claims.  

Noting that the department has paid a record number of Oregonians within two to three weeks, Erickson acknowledged that too many residents still have their claims unresolved.   

Erickson said in a statement that the goal of this renewed effort is to process 100 percent of the 38,000 claim backlog as quickly as possible and get Oregonians the relief they need.”  

The four-step strategy involves continuing surge hiring, focusing the most experienced professionals on the oldest and most complex claims, increasing proactive contact and communication, and using technology to close gaps and improve service. 

Claiming that the department will continue to add new metrics to its online dashboard so that users can track the office’s progress, Erickson said, “We’ll continue to be transparent about where we are and our progress toward our goals. Navigating this crisis is a collective effort, and Oregonians know how to work together to overcome hard challenges. We’ll get through this together.” 

By JD Brookbank