Getting Unemployment Benefits While You are Looking for Work

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Looking for Work? Maybe You Can Get Unemployment Benefits

If you are out of work, you might qualify for unemployment benefits from the Oregon Employment Department (OED). These weekly checks can help you while you look for another job. OED also offers free job search services and can help you find a new job. OED has forms in Spanish and staff who speak Spanish as well. Don't be afraid to ask for help.


How can I qualify for unemployment benefits?

1. You must look for work and be able and available to accept a new job. You should keep a record of your efforts to find work. Every week you claim benefits you must report your job searches and earnings. You can get benefits even if you earned a little money in the week.

2. You must be legally able to work in the United States. During the weeks you want to receive unemployment, you must be a U.S. citizen, legal permanent resident, or otherwise able to work legally in this country. OED may also check if you were qualified when you worked.

3. You must be unemployed through no fault of your own. If you were laid off for lack of work you will qualify for benefits. If you are fired, you can get benefits unless the employer shows that you were fired for your "misconduct". If you quit a job you must show that you had a good reason and no other reasonable choice. Whether you quit or were fired is sometimes an issue.

4. You must have worked enough in a qualifying job. You must have enough earnings in "covered" employment. Not all work counts. In Oregon, agricultural employment with a very small farm or company might not qualify. In Washington and California all agricultural work counts for unemployment. Sometimes you can add additional weeks of work to get a valid claim.

5. You must apply. You have the right to fill out an application for benefits and receive a written decision as to whether you are eligible. It is important to tell the truth to OED when applying and reporting for benefits. If you lie, you can be disqualified from benefits for up to 26 weeks and will have to repay any benefits you received.

What can I do if they deny me benefits?

You have the right to a hearing to appeal any decision. Sometimes people have to request a hearing to get their unemployment benefits. Note: You must request a hearing in writing and you only have 20 days from the date the decision is mailed to do so. If you request a hearing later you must show a good reason for not doing it sooner. You should request a hearing as soon as you find out about the decision. You should also seek legal help as soon as possible.

What other services are offered by the Employment Department?

OED staff are there to help people find jobs. Each OED office has listings of available jobs in Oregon and elsewhere. Staff can talk to you about your work-related experience and interests and help you apply for jobs with an employer. OED offers classes and other materials on applying and interviewing for work and how to get training for a new job. You have the right to some jobs OED lists if you are qualified, such as jobs in agriculture and forestry that are placed under the H-2A or H-2B Programs. If you do not get the help you need from the OED, or if you feel you were wrongfully denied work from an employer, you can complain to OED.


Last Review and Update: Jun 16, 2011
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