Overcoming Unemployment Roadblocks and FAQs on PPP

Representative Raquel Moore-Green

Hello Friends,

We have heard that accessing unemployment benefits has been a challenge.  Below you will find detailed information and a video that may help.  If you continue to hit roadblocks please contact our office directly.

Oregon Unemployment: Quick Tips

General Information:

The Oregon Employment Department has begun ramping up staffing to meet Oregon’s current need for Unemployment Insurance. Claims are being processed four times faster than normal as claims have jumped from 4,900 for the week of March 8th to 76,500 for the week of March 15th.

Claims processing is still slow and benefits may take more than a week to receive.

Issues regarding temporary layoffs are being addressed as the Oregon Employment Department works with the United States Department of Labor to carry out the “CARES Act” passed on March 27th.

All recent Covid-19 related layoffs qualify for Oregon Unemployment Insurance.

Contact information for the Oregon Employment Department:

Website: https://govstatus.egov.com/ORUnemployment_COVID19

Email: OED_COVID19_info@oregon.gov

Phone Numbers: 1-877-345-3484, 1-800-237-3710 (in-state only) or 503-947-1394.

Due to the high call volume, those that are able are STRONGLY encouraged to apply online. Currently phone lines at are near capacity. Online applications are processed faster.

Step-by-step guide to filing an Unemployment Insurance claim:

There have been issues with the recent policy changes to the website to adjust for furloughs and temporary layoffs, but the Department assures that these Unemployment claims will be processed. The website is being reformatted and you will need to navigate it by doing the following:

To begin an Unemployment claim, go to: https://secure.emp.state.or.us/ocs4/index.cfm?u=F20200324A152211B60880938.0174&lang=E

  1. Click “File a Claim.” You will need your work history for the last 18 months.
  2. Enter your occupation and select that the reason for unemployment is “Laid off/lack of work.”
  3. If you are impacted by Covid-19 and are willing to seek work or plan to return to work: Answer YES.
  4. If you are willing to work full or part time: Answer YES.
  5. Is there any reason you can’t begin full timework? Answer NO.
  6. A question regarding your expected date to return to work is asked. ONLY answer this question if that date is known. Otherwise, your unemployment benefits will end on that date.

Important to note:

Once processed, claims for unemployment need to be made every week starting on Sundays. Failing to do so will require starting over. Go to:https://www.oregon.gov/employ/pages/default.aspx.

  1. Click the “Online Claim System”.
  2. Click “Claim a Week’s benefits”
  3. Mark “Temporary Layoff” instead of work search activities.
  4. If you receive an “Error Message” in filing your weekly benefits because of a lack of work search history, the Department will still process your claim as usual.

YouTube video “how-to”:


apply onlin

Others have had questions around the federal Payroll Protection Plan, PPP.  Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions:

Support Available for Small Business in the Coronavirus Relief Packages

The third coronavirus relief package provides significant funding and new programs to support small businesses across the country. This includes:

  • $349 billion in forgivable loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, with no personal guarantee or collateral required. See further details below.
  • $10 billion for SBA economic injury disaster loans (EIDL), which provide grants of up to $10,000 or loans of up to $2 million to qualifying small businesses. See further details below.
  • $17 billion for SBA to cover six months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA backed businesses loans. This is six months of total relief from payments for existing and new applicants, though collateral is required. New applicants have six months from the signing of the legislation to apply through SBA’s Lender Match Portal, with six months of relief for both principal and interest.
  • An Employee Retention Tax Credit.
    • Employee retention tax credit of 50% of wages for each employee, capped at $10,000 in wages.
    • The tax credit is available to small businesses who do not participate in the Paycheck Protection Program, and businesses of all sizes who had to fully or partially suspend operations at the direction of the government due to the COVID- 19 outbreak or have gross receipts that are 50% less than the same quarter the previous year, until they reach 80% of their gross receipts.
    • This is a refundable payroll tax credit, and the IRS will provide employers with methods to request advance refunds to get the money back faster.

FAQs: The Paycheck Protection Program

Small businesses can receive fully forgivable loans through the newly-created Paycheck Protection Program to address important payroll and operational costs. The federal government has guaranteed these loans, so no personal guarantee or collateral will be required.

FAQs: Eligibility and Application Process

Who can apply?

  • Small businesses, nonprofits (excluding local affiliates of some national organizations), veterans’ organizations, and tribal businesses with fewer than 500 employees are all eligible to apply.
    • Affiliation rules are waived for any business assigned a franchiser identifier code or a NAICS code beginning with 72 that has 500 or fewer employees per physical location, or any business that receives funding through a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC).
  • Individuals who operate as sole proprietors, are self-employed, or are independent contractors are also eligible.

Note: Individuals must submit documentation to demonstrate their eligibility, including payroll tax filings, Forms 1099-MISC, and income and expenses from the sole proprietorship.

  • Undocumented business owners are not eligible for this relief, but legal permanent residents can apply.

Is my business eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program if I have already had to lay off employees?

  • Companies that have already laid off employees can hire back the laid off employees and have that payroll expense covered under the Paycheck Protection Program.

How much can I receive?

  • This forgivable loan is intended to cover eight weeks of payroll and operational costs, based on the sum of:
    • The average total monthly payments for payroll costs from the prior year before the date the loan was made, multiplied by 2.5.
    • For seasonal employers, the average total monthly payments for payroll for the 12-week period from February 15. 2019, or March 1, 2019, to June 30, 2019, multiplied by 2.5.
    • For those small businesses that were not in business from February 15, 2019 to the average total monthly payments by the employer for payroll costs incurred during the period beginning on January 1, 2020 and ending on February 29, 2020, multiplied by 2.5.
    • Plus any outstanding loans made beginning January 31, 2020.

The maximum loan amount is $10 million.

How do I apply?

  • You can apply through participating banks and credit unions. A list of Oregon SBA partner lenders can be found here. The federal government has provided a guarantee of these loans to qualified lenders, which includes most banks and established lending institutions that small business owners already work with (the federal government will also reimburse lenders for processing these loan applications).

Note: Because the federal government has guaranteed these loans, no personal guarantee or collateral will be required.

  • The Treasury Department has announced that lenders will begin accepting applications on Friday, April 3rd , with loans approved as quickly as the same day. Further details on the application process should be available later this week.
  • Applicants will need to make a good faith certification to lenders that:
    • Uncertain economic conditions require a loan to support ongoing operations;
    • Funds will be used to retain workers, maintain payroll, make mortgage interest and lease payments and utility payments, and to service existing debt;
    • No other applications are pending for a loan for the same purpose, and the recipient has not received any loans for this purpose.

Note: Recipients of economic injury disaster loans (EIDL) between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020 may also be recipients of these PPP loans, and may refinance their EIDL loan into this covered loan. Recipients who refinance an EIDL into a PPP loan will have the advance amount subtracted from the amount forgiven in the PPP.

FAQs: How Paycheck Protection Program Loans Are Forgiven

Recipients of Paycheck Protection Program loans can have their loans forgiven for costs incurred on eligible expenses in the 8 weeks following the origination of their loan. Recipients must submit an application for forgiveness to the lender who originated the loan, with the appropriate documentation.

How much can be forgiven?

  • All loan proceeds spent on the eligible expenses (see below for a list of eligible expenses) can be 100% forgiven.
  • The amount of forgiveness will be reduced pro-rata based on the number of full time employees maintained during the outbreak of COVID-19, compared to the number of employees maintained between February 15, 2019 and June 30, 2019; or between January 1, 2020 and February 29, 2020, or for seasonal employers, the average number of full- time equivalent employees per month from February 15, 2019 and June 30, 2019.
  • The amount of forgiveness will also be reduced by the amount of any salary reductions that are greater than 25% of the total salary or wages of that employee, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

What are eligible expenses?

Eligible expenses to be forgiven include:

  • Payroll costs.

Note: Employers with tipped employees may receive reimbursement for additional wages paid to those employees during the outbreak.

  • Costs related to health care benefits and insurance premiums.
  • Employee salaries, commissions or compensations.
  • Interest payments on mortgages (funding shall not go towards the principal).
  • Rent.
  • Utilities.
  • Interest on other outstanding debt obligations (incurred before the COVID outbreak, which began on February 15, 2020).

Are there any limitations on these eligible expenses?

  • Eligible payroll costs are capped at salaries over $100,000 per employee.
  • Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness cannot be used to cover paid time off or paid sick leave. Separate credits to cover these expenses have been provided in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

How much will I owe for any portion of my loan that is not forgiven, and how long will I have to  pay it off?

  • Loans (or portions of loans) that are not forgiven under this program will carry the following terms:
    • Interest rate of 0.5%
    • Maturity of two years
    • First payment deferred by six months

Thank you for engaging with your state government.  Please know my door is always open and my staff, Pam McClain, Lena Prine, and I welcome your participation.


All my best, rmg


Representative Raquel Moore-Green
House District 19

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1419
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-385, Salem, OR 97301
Email: Rep.RaquelMooreGreen@oregonlegislature.gov
Website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/moore-green

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