Oregon owes benefits to tens of thousands of unemployed workers, many of whom have been waiting for months. Stephanie Yao Long/Staff LC- The Oregonian

Oregon owes benefits to tens of thousands of unemployed workers, many of whom have been waiting for months.

SALEM — Oregon will soon be paying out additional benefits to around 246,000 residents who found themselves unemployed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Around $176 million so-called “waiting week” benefits will be issued starting this week, according to a release from the Oregon Employment Department.

In the past, claimants did not receive a benefit for the waiting week — the first week of a regular unemployment insurance claim when a person meets all eligibility requirements. That ruling has been dropped for regular unemployment insurance claims filed between March 8, 2020, through Jan. 2, 2021.

“We are very pleased to announce that many Oregonians will now start seeing the waiting week benefits they have been waiting for,” said David Gerstenfeld, acting director of the Oregon Employment Department.

Claims for regular unemployment insurance filed by Jan. 2 will receive a waiting week payment. However, those who received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or Disaster Unemployment Assistance will not receive a waiting week payment, as those programs already pay a claimants’ first eligible week.

The payments are taxable. Claimants who have taxes withheld from their benefits will have taxes withheld from the waiting week. While payment distribution starts this month, some may not see their payment until the end of January, depending on the type of program in which they are enrolled.

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