Wyden, Merkley: Oregon to Receive $3 Million to Ensure Workers Receive Earned Jobless Benefits

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that the Oregon Employment Department (OED) will receive $3 million in federal grants to ensure that eligible Oregonians can access the unemployment insurance (UI) program and receive the benefits they have earned.

“I’m gratified to see federal investment so that Oregon can build out its UI resources to help jobless Oregonians receive their benefits without delay,” Wyden said, who secured Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for millions of Americans and has introduced a bill to modernize UI systems nationwide. “Throughout the pandemic, we have learned the hard way that a system that’s been neglected can’t deliver in a crisis. Steps taken to fix UI systems now—and do so equitably—will help ensure jobless workers get the support they need the next time there’s an economic downturn.”

“Looking for work can be hard and stressful, and we should be doing all we can to reduce the financial stress and make it easier to find a new job,” said Senator Merkley. “The good news is that there are lots of resources to help, but they tend to be far more accessible in some communities than others.  I’m glad to see this grant make money available in Oregon to help people in underserved communities across Oregon access supports and get training so they can better support themselves, their families, and their communities.”  

OED will receive the funds through the American Rescue Plan Act, and will partner with community based organizations in helping eligible Oregonians navigate the UI process, with an emphasis on providing services to historically marginalized workers.