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Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Dan Konik

134,000 gig workers, independent contractors and self-employed Ohioans who have been waiting on their unemployment claims for more than a month will now get paid after a weekend of required upgrades to the processing system.

Fraud in Ohio's unemployment system cost the state more than $330 million in the fourth quarter of last year.

Ohio’s unemployment system continues to be a challenge the for thousands who say it is slow and non-responsive.

Nearly 28 thousand Ohioans filed first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits last week, bringing the state's pandemic total to over 1.9  million.

Nearly 257 thousand people filed continuing claims. And the Labor Department says 712 thousand Americans filed first-time claims last week, down by 75 thousand from the previous week. The feds say it's the latest sign the U.S. economy and job market remain under stress, and many employers are still cutting jobs.

Ohio Public Radio

Nearly 13 percent of the state’s population has received some sort of unemployment assistance since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Ohio Public Radio

Since the pandemic began in March, Ohio paid 821 thousand regular unemployment claims and 608 thousand claims for federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. 

Fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits have been a problem for a long time, and states have set up systems to try to prevent such fraud. But lost in that effort is arguably a bigger problem: Some of those systems have hurt millions of innocent people, keeping the benefits they deserve in limbo.

They're people like Sevy Guasch, who lost his job as a food and beverage manager at a Marriott hotel near San Jose, Calif. In March, he applied for unemployment benefits. He went online, entered his information, and waited. And waited.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says thousands of Ohioans who received unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic have been told they were overpaid. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved 717 million dollars in grant funding to provide Ohioans with extra unemployment benefits. 

The state will pay a fifth of the 276 thousand claims for non-traditional unemployment assistance it was holding back as part of a fraud investigation.

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The state is proceeding with President Trump's executive order to offer additional money for people getting unemployment benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services have suspended pandemic unemployment benefits for 276 thousand people as part of a fraud investigation.  

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The state says an extra 20 weeks of unemployment benefits will be made available to eligible Ohioans once they have exhausted their other benefits. 

Ohio Public Radio

The state's unemployment compensation fund  is now broke – which was predicted even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The state has not been denying anyone unemployment insurance benefits for COVID-19 related reasons, such as concerns about contracting coronavirus on the job or being ordered to quarantine.

Updated at 10:21 a.m. ET

Another 1.5 million people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week, a decline of 58,000.

But the number who are continuing to seek the payments is continuing to fall as workers return to their jobs. The Labor Department said continued claims dipped by 62,000 to 20.5 million.

In the past 13 weeks, since the early days of the coronavirus crisis, new claims have totaled a staggering 45.7 million. New weekly filings peaked at nearly 6.9 million in March and have been dropping ever since.

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Ohio's unemployment compensation fund is officially broke, and the state has asked to borrow more than 3 billion dollars from the feds so benefit payments may continue. 

Lucia Walinchus / Eye On Ohio

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. 

State officials say more than 35 thousand Ohioans filed claims for unemployment insurance benefits last week, bringing the state's total over the last three months to  over 1.3 million. 

The state has paid more than 3.8 billion dollars in unemployment insurance benefits to over 683 thousand Ohioans since mid-March, more than it's ever paid in a full year. 

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A consulting company contracted by the state is investigating a data breach in the system launched last week to pay unemployment benefits to 1099 and self-employed workers.

Updated at 8:38 a.m. ET

The telephone lines are still jammed at the nation's unemployment offices.

Another 3.8 million people filed claims for jobless benefits last week, according to the Labor Department. While that's down from the previous week's 4.4 million, a staggering 30.3 million have applied for unemployment in the six weeks since the coronavirus began taking a wrecking ball to the U.S. job market.

That's roughly one out of five people who had a job in February.

There's a call Laura Jean Truman is dreading, and she's convinced it's just a matter of time before it comes.

Truman, who's a server at Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta, says the source of her angst is the fear that sometime in the next few weeks her boss is going to call and say it's time to go back to work, putting her in the position of having to make a choice between her safety and being able to pay the bills that continue to arrive despite the coronavirus.

"Right now, everyone who is not working at restaurants is able to be on unemployment," she told NPR.

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Nearly a million Ohioans - 964,556 people - have filed for unemployment in the last five weeks, more than the combined total in the last two years. 

Updated at 8:46 a.m. ET

The number of people forced out of work during the coronavirus lockdown continues to soar to historic highs. Another 4.4 million people claimed unemployment benefits last week around the country, the Labor Department said.

That brings the total of jobless claims in just five weeks to more than 26 million people. That's more than all the jobs added in the past 10 years since the Great Recession.

Ohio Public Radio

Protestors marched down High Street and gathered outside the Statehouse today during Governor DeWine's afternoon coronavirus briefing. 

Ohio Public Radio

Nearly 200,000 Ohioans have filed unemployment insurance claims in the last two weeks, and more are likely to need those benefits soon.

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When businesses shut down or lay off employees, they are required to notify federal and the state governments.

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has ordered the closure of all bars and restaurants in the state to help stem the coronavirus outbreak. 

Seven thousand federal workers in Ohio aren't receiving paychecks because of the partial government shutdown. 

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