January 23, 2022

Essential workers can get $1,000 in incentive money

With the rise in Omicron cases across the country, many expect Congress to launch another round of stimulus checks. So far there has been no material development on this front. However, some in Oregon may still get a stimulus check from the state government. This Oregon coronavirus incentive check, if approved, is for the essential workers only.

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Oregon coronavirus stimulus check for essential workers

Oregon Democrats Are Working To Revive A Bill To Offer essential workers who worked during the pandemic, a one-time payment of up to $1,000, according to Oregon Live. Specifically, workers in jobs classified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration as medium to very high risk occupations are eligible for this one-time payment.

However, such employees must have worked an average of at least 20 hours per week from April to December 2020. These workers must also have earned less than $22 per hour or $42,900 per year and must not have received any other bonus or hazard compensation from the state for working during the pandemic.

In a house committee meeting Tuesday, Representative Andrea Valderrama (D-Portland), who is co-sponsoring the proposal, noted that they have requested information from the Oregon Employment Department about the number of employees who might qualify for the one-time payment. The first estimate is that at least 230,000 workers could qualify for the Oregon coronavirus stimulus check.

“This bill solves that by paying a one-time appreciation to some of our lowest-paid workers in the riskiest places,” Valderrama said.

No new proposal

This new proposal is an abbreviated version of a account that Democratic lawmakers introduced last spring. The original bill would have given incentive checks of up to $2,000 to essential workers, as well as a $1,200 payment to unemployed Oregonians who returned to work in frontline jobs last fall.

Republicans opposed the bill, arguing it didn’t make sense to give more incentive money to workers unemployed workers were already receiving federal unemployment benefits of $300 a week. Legislators couldn’t get approval for the legislation at the time, but were talking about getting it back up and running in 2022.

“Essential workers are risking their lives every day during the pandemic,” house speaker Tina Kotek said at the time. “Therefore, my top priority for the rest of Oregon’s share of federal U.S. bailout dollars will be additional support for frontline workers in 2022.”

To give incentive money to the essential workers, the state would use the money it American rescue plan and general government fund. The Oregon Worker Relief Fund is said to be responsible for distributing the money. Oregon received $2.6 billion in government funding from the $1.9 trillion US bailout, which was approved in March 2021.

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