On Friday, July 17th, the Oregon Employment Department launched a new online form for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance initial claims and weekly certifications. We wanted to pass along some additional information regarding the new form, per David Gerstenfeld, Acting Director of the Oregon Employment Department.
Although the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program was set up in just under a month, the temporary solution, a PDF application, was cumbersome and prone to errors. This new form will fix many of the previous issues and help to get benefits to the hands of Oregonians more quickly.
The three major improvements are:
- Speeding up weekly benefit processing. PUA claimants are required to submit a weekly certification to get benefits. Automating the weekly certification process will help get them processed faster and more accurately. The previous highly manual process was time- and resource-intensive and meant weeks of delays.
- Improved submission success. The fully automated form will ensure applications are submitted with complete information, which will speed up claims processing. The temporary PDF solution meant that some forms were inadvertently being submitted blank.
- Ensuring all required information is complete prior to submission. The form will give a warning notifying customers that the information is required. This change will help us process claims faster and reduce delays in Oregonians receiving benefits due to missing information. Important information, such as the COVID-19 reason that makes an applicant eligible for PUA, is required, but has often been missing or left blank on the PDF forms.
People should resubmit their weekly claims through the new form if they have not already been paid for those weeks, though they do not have to. Doing so will speed up how quickly they get their benefits, and will let claims specialists focus on claims for people who have not yet received their benefits.