Editor's update: The following program allocating 70,000 payments of $500 to Oregonians in need because of the coronavirus pandemic has been depleted after three days of distributions.
“I want to thank the financial institutions that have stepped up in an emergency and are continuing to work so hard to get money into the hands of desperate Oregonians,” Senate President Peter Courtney said. “We’ve said from the beginning that we know this is not enough money to help all of those in need. But we had to take action to get money directly to people as quickly as possible and this is a tremendous example of Oregonians pitching in to help our most vulnerable.”
“These last couple days have put a spotlight on just how dire the need is all across the state,” House Speaker Tina Kotek said. “We have to get more money to help people. The federal government has the ability to make direct stimulus payments to Americans whose lives are in jeopardy and are not doing so. I find this incredibly frustrating and disappointing.”
After two days, the program delivered funds to payments to nearly 40,000 eligible Oregonians in need. On the first day of the program, 62% of $500 payments went to zip codes outside the Portland Metropolitan Area.
The offices of the House Speaker and Senate President will follow up with more detailed information and data about the program as soon as it is available, including which geographic locations were served.
(AP) — Oregonians still waiting for their unemployment benefits can apply for a one-time payment of $500 beginning Wednesday.
The $35 million relief check program, that was approved by lawmakers in mid-July, could help up to 70,000 Oregon residents facing financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The virus, which has infecting thousands of Oregonians and killed nearly 400, has also caused a surge in unemployment. More than 500,000 people have filed unemployment claims since the start of the pandemic, causing major delays in people receiving funds.
The purpose of the new relief program, which would use funds from the CARES Act, is to provide support to Oregonians while the agency continues to work through its backlog.
“After months of hearing from increasingly desperate Oregonians who were doing everything right and still not getting the unemployment they were owed, we hope this effort offers a streamlined way for some financial relief,” House Speaker Tina Kotek said Wednesday. “The state is stepping up, and I hope Congress will act soon to provide more support that is desperately needed.”
People eligible for a relief check must have made less than $4,000 before taxes per month before losing a job, be an Oregon resident, be 18 or older and the employer must have closed or the person’s income “decreased significantly because of executive actions by Gov. Kate Brown to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
People are not eligible for the program if their unemployment benefits are up to date.
We know $500 isn’t going to solve all of these problems, but if we can help a family buy groceries for the month, pay for child care, or cover an unexpected repair, it’s worth it,” Senate President Peter Courtney said.
For more information on how to apply for the one-time payment visit Oregonians https://emergencychecks.oregon.gov.