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Unemployment Benefits Increase For New Applicants

The Oregon Employment Department announced the annual change to the minimum and maximum weekly benefit amounts (WBAs) for regular unemployment insurance (UI). For new regular UI claims filed in Oregon on or after July 4, 2021, minimum and maximum WBAs each will increase by approximately 9%.

The increase will also apply to new PUA claims effective on or after July 4, 2021. This increase will be a significant income boost for new claimants who receive the minimum or maximum WBA. During the most recent quarter, 16% of regular UI recipients received the minimum WBA, and 24% received the maximum WBA. The 9% increase is the result of growth in Oregon’s average weekly wage during 2020.

Starting July 4, the minimum WBA for new regular UI claims will increase by $14, from $157 to $171 per week. The maximum WBA for new regular UI claims and new PUA claims will increase by $60, from $673 to $733 per week. The minimum WBA for new PUA claims will not be affected because it is set by the US Department of Labor. Individuals who file new regular UI or PUA claims prior to July 4, 2021 will continue receiving the same WBA they had been receiving.

Federal rules prohibit the benefit increase for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Extended Benefits (EB). Under Oregon law (ORS657.150(4)), the Oregon Employment Department recalculates the minimum and maximum WBAs for regular UI benefits annually. The amounts are set as percentages of the average weekly wage earned by Oregonians. The minimum WBA is 15% of the average weekly wage and the maximum WBA is 64%. Both dollar amounts are rounded down to the nearest dollar, as required by law.

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