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CARES Act expires Friday as pressure builds for new COVID-19 relief bill

Unemployed Oregonians will not receive the weekly $600 federal unemployment benefit for claims after July 25.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in late March will expire July 31.

The stimulus package provided some Americans with a one-time check for $1,200 and $500 for most dependents. The CARES Act included an added weekly unemployment benefit of $600 on top of state unemployment benefit. 

Oregon is still processing claims and says as of July 30, more than 1,000 are yet to be processed. That doesn't include the over 19,000 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims that are yet to be processed. The Oregon Employment Department has set an August 8th goal to have every PUA processed.

"I continue to be so sorry for the delays in getting payments to people and how long it is taken," David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department, said during his weekly media call Wednesday. "It is not a lack of effort or caring or understanding how desperate this is, it's just a matter of the vast number of people needing assistance and the complexity of so many new programs."

There are several provisions of the CARES Act, the FPUC (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) expires July 31st, while the PUA doesn't expire until December 26th.

KGW viewer Brenda wanted to know, "Why is the State of Oregon stopping the $600 per week CARES Act payments a week earlier than other states. It seems cruel to discontinue the help early when they are so INCREDIBLY slow and late to deliver the unemployment benefits."

That's in part because of the calendar. The state of Oregon classifies a working week from Sunday to Saturday and pays out unemployment benefits for the full 7-day week.

July 31 is on a Friday, so the last full week ended on July 25.

RELATED: Extra $600 unemployment benefit keeping millions of Americans afloat ends

Another KGW viewer, Julie, asked, "Can you find out if Oregonians who are waiting on their unemployment benefits will still receive the $600 supplemental employment benefit if the program expires before we get paid?"

Gerstenfeld addressed that during the Wednesday briefing.

"For people who haven't yet received their benefit payments for prior weeks that are covered by the FPUC program, they can rest assured that when they receive those benefits they will still receive the $600 payments for those weeks," he said.

Democrats in the U.S. House have passed a new stimulus package, but it hasn't been brought up in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Republicans have proposed their own stimulus package, but it hasn't been voted on.

RELATED: GOP unveils 'HEALS' Act with another round of $1,200 stimulus checks

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