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Unemployment benefits for self-employed gig workers now available in Oregon

The benefits come through the CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregonians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic who didn't previously qualify for unemployment compensation, such as self-employed gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors, are now eligible to receive benefits, the Oregon Employment Department announced Tuesday.

The benefits come through the CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

In addition to providing benefits to gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors, the program also makes funds available for people who are unable and unavailable to work because they're sick or are caring for a sick family member during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Beneficiaries of the PUA program will get $600 per week, plus a weekly benefit of $205 to $648. The benefits are retroactive to the first week the applicant was impacted by COVID-19, according to OEM. The benefits can last up to 39 weeks.

Learn more about the PUA program

OEM said it has recruited and trained staff to start processing PUA claims, and that the claims process can take as little as a week or as long as a month, depending on the compexity of the claim.

Eligibility

Here's the exact wording provided by OEM about who is eligible for PUA benefits:

  • are self-employed and not subject to unemployment insurance tax;
  • perform work as an independent contractor;
  • perform work not subject to unemployment insurance tax, such as agricultural workers;
  • did not earn enough in wages or work enough hours to qualify for regular unemployment benefits;
  • exhausted regular unemployment benefits, and are not eligible for another extension.

OEM also says that, to be eligible, individuals have to be unemployed or partially unemployed, or are unable and unavailable to work because of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • are directly caring for a member of the household diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or are seeking a medical diagnosis for COVID-19;
  • are unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
  • are primary caregivers for a child or person in the household who is unable to attend school or another facility closed due to COVID-19, and that attendance is required for their work;
  • were scheduled to start a new job and were unable to because the business closed as a direct result of COVID-19 public health emergency; or
  • owned or worked for a business that closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to Apply

Four ways to apply:

  • Online: Application in English | Application in Spanish
  • Email: Request a secure email link at OED_PUA_INFO@oregon.gov. Attach your PUA application and weekly claim reports to the secure email link only.
  • Mail: Your PUA application and weekly claim reports can be mailed to OEM at P.O. Box 14165, Salem, OR 97311.
  • Fax: You can fax your PUA application and weekly claim reports to 503-371-2893.

Individuals with disabilities can request auxiliary aids and services by calling 503-947-1794 or for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, by calling 711 Telecommunications Relay Services.

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