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Oregon workers struggling without paychecks and unprocessed unemployment benefits

PORTLAND, Ore. — Workers who have been laid off due to the coronavirus outbreak have not received a paycheck in nearly a month. Social services report an increase in the number of people accessing resources to pay bills and put food on the table.

Thousands of Oregon workers have filed unemployment claims since Gov. Kate Brown issued an order, which requires some businesses to close.

"If I don't get any money from the government from May 10th on, I'm going to be pretty screwed," Latest Portland News said Alyssa Crawford, who was laid off from her two part-time jobs in mid-March.

Crawford said she has been unable to file her unemployment claim.

"I live paycheck to paycheck," she said.

The $1,200 stimulus check, she said, was used to pay bills that are overdue. She said she is putting the rest of her expenses on a credit card.

"Those bills don't go anywhere. When unemployment checks aren't coming in and you're not getting paid for five weeks, it takes a big toll," she said.



Independent contractors and gig workers, like Uber drivers, are waiting for help.

"I have not for a month been able to generate any type of income," said Elizabeth Wood, who is an independent contractor.

She said she attempted to file a claim in March but said it was not accepted because she is an independent contractor.

Wood said she has been unable to reach a person over the phone for assistance.

To save money, Wood is moving to keep down expenses.

"I'm moving to cut expenses because a month into this I don't know how long it will take the state of Oregon to figure this out Press Release Distribution Service," Wood said.

Social service organizations also report an increase in need.

The Oregon Food Bank recently saw a 57% increase at a free Farmers Market, according to a spokesperson.

211 Info told KATU News calls have more than doubled since the crisis began.

"We all know that unemployment is dramatically increased," said Dan Herman, the CEO of the nonprofit.

Initially, Herman said, people called with questions about COVID-19. In the past month, he said people have called looking for financial resources to help pay bills and put food on the table.

From March to mid-April, 6,000 people have called looking for assistance with food, which is double the number of calls made in the same period last year.

"It tells me where we are economically, and it tells me where we are in unemployment," Herman said.

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