In the months following the arrival of COVID-19 in Oregon, hundreds of thousands of Oregonians lost their jobs, and the majority of those Oregonians work in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Unlike other states, however, many Oregonians have struggled to get their unemployment checks, which has made surviving the last few months exceptionally difficult.
Now that the federal $600 weekly benefit has expired, Oregon state lawmakers have created something like a stop-gap: Unemployed Oregonians who are not currently receiving unemployment benefits can apply for a one-time emergency relief payment of $500. The state legislature approved the $35 million in financial relief this July, but applications for the program opened this week. Oregonians over 18 who are not currently receiving unemployment benefits and normally make $4,000 per month or less are eligible, and those individuals can apply for the $500 benefit through participating banks and credit unions. According to the website, people who have since returned to work may be eligible, as well.
“We know $500 isn’t going to solve all of these problems, but if we can help a family buy groceries for the month, pay for child care, or cover an unexpected repair, it’s worth it,” Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney said.
• Emergency Checks [Official]
• Oregon’s recovery slows, but unemployment drops to 10.4 percent [PBJ]
• Oregon launches $500 emergency relief program [OPB]
• Oregon leaders squandered years on jobless benefits computer upgrade. Now the project’s future is again in doubt [O]
• “For the first time in my life, I had money in my savings”: Workers on the relief of the $600 weekly benefit [Vox]