EUGENE, Ore.-- Oregonians who are independent contractors are slowly starting to get their unemployment benefits, months after the CARES Act was signed into law.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program was created under the CARES act which freed up money for those who are self-employed. Typically, that category of workers does not have access to unemployment benefits. For Susan Gravell's daughter, who is a hairstylist in Linn County, she waited over two months for her money.
"There's feeling like they're being forgotten or just because you are an independent contractor means that you don't deserve recognition," Gravell said. "Not even answer that we received your application or we're working on it, not even a response that you may be last because of your situation."
Beneficiaries of the program can get up to $600 per week plus another weekly benefit of anywhere between $200 to $600. For those who apply, they must prove they have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. The benefits could last up to 39 weeks.
Lucas Einhorn is a private tutor in Eugene and he said his money was deposited in his account last week, nearly three months after he applied. He said for those who are still having trouble getting their benefits, to keep trying.
"Call the number until it goes through," Einhorn said. "Be nice and be polite. Understand the person whom you on the phone is not like the reason this is all messed up. Be humane understand that they are very stressed dealing with people that are angry at them too."
The Oregon Employment Department has been working to process claims at a much faster rate after the system nearly crashed due to the flood of unemployment claims. According to the department's website, nearly 8,000 claims were filed and over 23,000 were processed by weeks end of June 13.
The Employment Department's phone number for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is (503)-370-5400.