Thousands still waiting for unemployment benefits

SALEM, Ore. – During a teleconference Friday morning, the director of Oregon’s Employment Department, Kay Erickson said the agency is taking responsibility for its shortfalls the past few months.
Erickson says there are still 38,000 backlogged claims for unemployment, with more coming in every day.
She says there are many reasons people are still waiting to receive benefits, including decades-old technology, historic numbers of claims and new federal guidelines.
“Unfortunately, it is difficult to say with certainty how soon we can process all of those claims,” said Erickson.
The OED has hired a little more than half of the 750+ employees it need to process all of the claims.
There is no timeline of when the backlogges claims will be processed.
However, Erickson said the department is working 17 hours a day, and on the weekends to process all of the claims.
Their goal is to process claims within a three week period.
Currently, more than 266,000 Oregonians are without a job. Unemployment has reached a record high in Oregon going from 3.5% in March to 14.2% in April.
Nationally, the U.S. Government said last week that more than 36 million people had filed for unemployment since the pandemic began.

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Madison LaBerge is the anchor of NBC5 News Weekends at 6 and 11. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Madison is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She loves living in the Pacific Northwest. She can't get over "how green everything is!" When Madison is not at work, she looks for new and exciting cooking recipes and explores Southern Oregon. Feel free to send her story ideas or the address of your favorite Mexican food restaurant!
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