How to Tell if I Qualify for Benefits?

Oregon Employment Department logo

The Oregon Employment Department provides Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to most workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. In non-pandemic times, to get benefits, workers must meet some requirements. In general, to receive UI benefits for a week, you must be able to work, be available for work, and look for work you can do. During these times, the agency’s temporary rules (linked below) add flexibility to those requirements, by helping those who are temporarily laid off stay connected to their employers, and accommodating Stay Home, Save Lives orders as they relate to availability for work. Please read the questions below for more details.

 Workers

UI benefits may be available to those who are on a temporary layoff. These benefits occur for claimants whose employer stops operation for a short period of time, such as cleaning following a coronavirus exposure or by government requirement. Workers can get UI benefits, and do not need to seek work with other employers. You must be able to work, stay in contact with your employer, and be available to work when called back.

If your employer expects to re-open in the future, you do not actively have to look for another job to receive benefits. To get benefits, you must:

  • be able to work;
  • stay in contact with your employer; and
  • be available to work when your employer calls you back to work.

Note that when filing an online claim, our systems require you to enter your work search. You can bypass this by marking the temporary layoff option.

If you are not still in contact with your employer, you are currently considered to be actively seeking work if you are doing what you can to be prepared to return to new work or find new employment.

  • Note that when filing an online claim, our systems require you to enter your work search. You can bypass this by marking the temporary layoff option.
  • During your temporary layoff period, please keep a written work search log in case it is requested in the future. 

During your temporary layoff period, please keep a written work search log in case it is requested in the future. 


 Yes. A person will be considered available to work if they are:

  • Quarantined by their health care provider, or by advice issued by public health officials to self-quarantine due to possible risk of exposure to, or spread of, the novel coronavirus, but they are not sick;
  • Home sick because of the novel coronavirus or a condition with similar flu like symptoms and they have not turned down an offer of work since they began being at home due to the sickness; or
  • Hospitalized, or in other institutionalized care, due to the novel coronavirus, but for less than half of the week, and they did not turn down an offer to work that week.
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Generally, you will not be eligible for benefits if your employer is paying you to remain away from the site or as stand-by pay.

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You may be eligible for benefits. You can file a claim, and the Employment Department will gather information from you and your employer to see if benefits would apply.

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Generally you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits. You can file an initial claim to determine the possibility of receiving benefits.

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If you are getting vacation or other leave pay while your employer is closed, you generally are not able to also receive unemployment insurance benefits.

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The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries issues guidance related to Oregon’s sick time and other leave time laws.

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Contact the Workers' Compensation Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services for information on filing a workers' compensation claim related to coronavirus. They can also be contacted at 800-452-0288 or workcomp.questions@oregon.gov.​

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​You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you quit your job. You can file still an initial claim to find out if you can receive benefits. ​

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Generally, you will be eligible for unemployment benefits. To find out if you are eligible, file an initial claim. We will gather information from you and your employer about your circumstances to determine your eligibility.​

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Unemployment benefits may be available to school staff who are out of work due to the closure and are not actively seeking work with other employers. You must be able to work, stay in contact with your employer during the temporary layoff, and be available to work when called back. If your spring break is during the closure other provisions may apply.​

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Generally, you will not be eligible for benefits during the normal spring break period if you are expected to return to your job after the break. You may be eligible and can file a claim for other weeks during the closure that are not part of your normal spring break.​

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Whether you are paid by the Department of Human Services, another agency, or an independent contractor, you can file a claim for unemployment benefits. The Employment Department will review each case and determine if you can receive benefits based on current law and the circumstances of the COVID-19 coronavirus.​

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  • If someone receiving regular unemployment benefits receives a payment from their employer for past weeks through PPP, this is back pay and they do not need to report it on prior weeks of benefits they already claimed.
  • If someone receiving regular unemployment benefits receives a payment from their employer for the current week through PPP, this DOES NEED to be reported on their current weekly claim.
  • If someone receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA – not eligible for regular unemployment benefits) receives a payment from their employer for past weeks through PPP, and they have already submitted PUA claims for those weeks, this is considered back pay and they do not need to report it to us on the weeks already claimed.
  • If a self-employed claimant on PUA receives PPP funds and uses the funds for personal use they need to report it to us in the week they receive it.
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 Job Seekers

A person will be considered “actively seeking work” if they are willing to look for work when state and local emergency declarations related to the coronavirus expire or otherwise are no longer in effect.  

Yes. A person will be considered “available to work” if they normally work less than full-time and are only available for less than full-time work.

If you are home sick because you are sick with COVID-19 or other flu like symptoms that prevent you from going into work, you are considered able to work.

If you are quarantined, but not sick, you are considered able to work.

If you are hospitalized because you are sick with COVID-19, your claim will need to be reviewed determine the possibility of receiving benefits.​


Please call your WorkSource Oregon center to ask about completing your appointments by phone or Skype. ​


Generally yes, you would be considered available for work. If you have turned down work with a new employer, that could affect your benefit eligibility.

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If at all possible we encourage you to go online to file a new claim or restart your existing claim. With the current climate our phone lines are busier than usual, we will check your situation and go back to the prior week when appropriate. ​

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Yes; if you are home because you are caring for a family member due to the effects of COVID-19, you are considered available for work and will want to report that on your weekly claim. If you are home solely because you lack childcare for your child or children due to school or daycare closure, you are considered available for work and will want to indicate that on your weekly claim.​

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Please call your local WorkSource Oregon center to complete your appointment by phone or Skype.

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For general information on COVID-19 in Oregon, call 211. If you are having a medical emergency, call 911.

 Contact Us


 Situation in the U.S. and Globally

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) leads the U.S. response. The World Health Organization (WHO) guides the global response.

 Information from CDC   Information from WHO

 Resources for the Community


Social Distancing

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Spread facts, not fear.

Oregon is seeing an increase in incidents of discrimination and harassment related to the COVID-19 virus. It is important that all people, businesses, and other organizations act on facts, not bias or xenophobia. Health officials confirm there are no links between COVID-19 infection and a person’s race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, or national origin. COVID-19 can infect anyone who is exposed to it, and anyone can spread COVID-19. 

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In consideration of staffing challenges and health concerns due to COVID-19, Governor Kate Brown announced a statewide closure of Oregon K-12 schools from Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, April 28.

OHA knows we are asking a lot of Oregonians in order to protect those who are particularly vulnerable to this virus, and there is a lot of fear and anxiety in our communities. Educators are the heart of our schools, which in turn are the heart of our communities. In the wake of COVID-19’s arrival in Oregon, our schools are facing operational and business challenges.

We stand with the governor and our education partners as they make difficult decisions in response to these operational challenges in their school communities.

Resources from Oregon Department of Education

Child Care Resources from Early Learning Division

In partnership with OHA, the Early Learning Division (ELD) has created new tools for addressing concerns in child care around COVID-19.

Resources from Oregon Higher Education





Updated on May 20th, 2020 01:40PM