Friday, December 18, 2020

The CARES Act and Claimants on the Benefits Cliff in Oregon

The CARES Act signed into law in March created new programs to expand Unemployment Insurance coverage during the pandemic. Two of these programs -- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), primarily for the self-employed, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) 13-week benefit extension -- are currently scheduled to expire on December 26, 2020. While most PEUC benefits recipients could roll into the existing Extended Benefits program, those receiving PUA benefits have no other unemployment benefit options when that program ends. 

While negotiations are underway to extend or replace CARES Act programs into 2021, many are wondering how many Oregonians could be impacted by the loss or interruption of these benefits. We estimate that there will be 72,000 people receiving benefits from the Oregon Employment Department under these programs as of December 26. That’s about 3.4% of the entire state’s workforce when the pandemic began. 

Women are slightly more likely to be affected by the loss or interruption of these benefits, as well as workers ages 65 and older. People facing the potential loss of this financial support in Josephine, Curry, Coos, Lincoln, and Jackson counties are expected to be the hardest hit by share of overall labor force. 

More information about the characteristics of unemployment benefit claimants is available at

No comments: