Unless Congress acts, Oregonians will be losing an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program expires.
Since the program started, the Oregon Employment Department (OED) has paid out more than $2 billion in FPUC benefits. Jobless Americans are bracing for an end of these benefits as Congress has failed to agree on renewing the program. The federal benefits officially expire on July 31, but have effectively ended due to how payment calendars are set up. The extra benefits end as some Oregonians are still waiting on general assistance from the OED.
Oregonians who have not been receiving payment for their weekly claims will be retroactively eligible for the extra $600 a week benefits for those weeks. During the month of June, all 36 counties in Oregon experienced decreases in unemployment rates. In 16 of those counties, the rate dropped by 3 percent or more.
The OED is currently facing a lawsuit in regards to their dissemination of unemployment benefits as tens of thousands of Oregonians are still waiting for a response. The department will likely struggle to reimplement the extra benefits if Congress puts together a new FPUC package, which may include more limited benefits.
Another $1,200 stimulus is expected in August which will apply to the same individuals as the first round of benefits. That includes individuals making $75,000 or less who qualify for the full amount as well as joint filers earning less than $150,000.
The employment department is encouraging unemployed Oregonians to visit 211info.org or call 211 to learn about relief programs that may be available.
By Emily Weninger
Photo by Cody Mannn