Roughly 23 thousand Ohio workers sidelined by the COVID-19 pandemic are now being told to return their unemployment insurance benefits, after waiting weeks to get them.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says since March 15th, those people have benefit accounts listed as "overpaid" for reasons other than fraud. Sarah Burns is a furloughed worker who is appealing the move:
Those who have been denied benefits may apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Ohio launched a separate online system for those applications, but it's running into problems. Rodney Sweigert of Columbus has still not been approved for traditional unemployment after filing in mid-March - and he can't apply for P-U-A:
Some people are getting locked out of P-U-A, even when their regular unemployment claims have already been denied. They include Linda Gadek of Columbus, who's been without income since losing her job on March 21:
State officials say they are going through individual cases to determine who is being locked out by mistake.
Editor's note: This story comes to you thanks to the work of the people at Eye On Ohio.