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Oregon family fears they could be forced to sell home after glitch in system delays unemployment insurance

The Oregon Employment Department's new system for unemployment benefits is reportedly delaying some families' ability to get the money they need on time.

A Portland family fears they could be left with no option other than to sell their home after a glitch in the freshly-revamped unemployment insurance system spiraled into a devastating problem that left a recently laid-off father unable to collect.

"It’s been five weeks, coming up on six weeks now, that I have seen dime zero. We’ve burned through our reserves," Gregory Smith told Portland's KOIN 6 News.

Smith was the household's only employed member, and his job loss early last month left the family desperate to receive something to sustain them as they wait for the new system to get sorted.

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Unfortunately, their troubles seem to be relentless.

The systematic error wreaking so much havoc, Smith said, comes from one incorrect digit entered in his address. According to the report, he has tried multiple times to get the issue resolved and has done so in multiple ways, but his efforts keep coming up dry.

"I’ve got two kids, a wife, pretty decent house that I worked really, really hard, 50-60 hours a week for seven years to be able to remodel my house and make it this happy place for my family," he told the outlet. 

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"And because of a simple typographical error that I cannot — somehow cannot — get repaired, it’s likely that I may lose this house."

The state Employment Department's new website rollout is affecting other Oregonians as well.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported Wednesday that former Oregon Health and Science University employee Harvest Rich's hardship with the platform is despite she and her husband both qualifying for unemployment benefits.

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She told the outlet, "You don’t know if you’re going to be denied, if you might be expecting a check in the next week or two — you know nothing."

Problems persist once the claimant's benefit is flagged. The claim then undergoes a process known as adjudication to investigate and determine the outcome.

"Representatives with the state employment department say because of the migration to the new online system, they do not know how many claims are waiting to get looked at by an adjudicator. They also lack information on how long it’s taking for claims in adjudication to get resolved," the report reads.

Smith, meanwhile, insists that the revamped system should be fixed for the benefit of those displaced by its rollout.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Oregon Employment Department for comment, and received the following statement:

"We can’t comment on any one case without a release. We recognize that people are already facing difficult situations with the loss of employment and that waiting any amount of time for that first benefit check is difficult. We also acknowledge that it is especially frustrating when they can’t get through to us on the phone or have to wait on hold for long periods when they do. However, we need time to make sure customers are both eligible for the program and that they are who they say they are. Unfortunately, this is taking longer than we and our customers would like.

"The biggest reason is that our staffing levels remain low compared to our workload because of chronic federal underfunding. The good news is that help is on the way, as House Bill 4035 becomes effective this June and will provide additional administrative funding for 72 positions. The positive impacts of this bill will be felt toward the second half of the year at the earliest, as it takes time to hire and train new staff. In the meantime, we are currently exploring all options and tactics to resolve claims as quickly possible and support customers throughout the claim process."

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