Clock is ticking on special unemployment programs

SALEM – An estimated 70,000 Oregonians who are receiving unemployment benefits will lose them on Dec. 26. Both the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs will expire.

“As many as 3,400 of those will lose their benefits a bit earlier in mid-December as a result of the extended benefits going from 20 weeks to 13 weeks,” Oregon Employment Department Director David Gerstenfeld said.

Gerstenfeld said that Congress will have to act quickly to keep the benefits coming.

The PUA benefits are for people who do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are unable to continue working as a result of COVID-19. That includes self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers. PEUC extends unemployment insurance for an extra 13 weeks for those who have exhausted their benefits.