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$40 million paid for unemployment claims in Ohio during coronavirus pandemic

Last week, jobless claims in Ohio jumped more than 180,000 from the week before as millions filed for unemployment across the country.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A total of $40 million has been paid for 95,000 unemployment claims as of the morning of April 1, according to Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) Director Kimberly Hall. Hall spoke to a group of reporters in a video call Wednesday morning.

A spokesperson for ODJFS said on March 17 the balance of the fund was $1.13 billion.

Last week, jobless claims in Ohio jumped more than 180,000 from the week before as millions filed for unemployment across the country. Nearly 3.3 million people filed a jobless claim in the U.S. last week.

Hall said the agency has seen an influx of applicants as far back as March 15 and that "every claim is important to us."

ODJFS has 420 people on staff taking calls between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The software the agency allows up to 4,000 people to take calls, Hall said.

Since they do not have the full 4,000, she said some of the calls that come in are caught in the queue.

All claims, including ones for self-employed and 1099 employees, will be retroactive to March 29, Hall said.

Hall said the quickest way to file for unemployment is online and said the process is a little smoother on the weekends if you need to call.

She admitted there will be a delay in receiving benefits but advised people to be patient with the process.

ODJFS has previously released the following statement, information, and resources:

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services urges individuals to file their claims online, if possible, at unemployment.ohio.gov. Each claim is important to us, and we recognize the hardship that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on many Ohio families. We have been working around the clock to streamline performance and boost capacity by adding servers so the online claims system can handle the unprecedented influx of claims, which has affected processing times.

It's important to keep in mind that during previous downturns in the economy, claims came in waves as the recession worsened and industries began to shut down whereas these claims came in all at once and created a tsunami. This amount of claims in this short expanse of time would tax any online system, especially one that is 16 years old. It’s also important to note that unemployment insurance automated systems around the country are also struggling with the increased claims load.

Helpful FAQ Sheets
General Information: jfs.ohio.gov/unemp_comp_faq/index.stm
Coronavirus-Specific Information: jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm

Extended Call Center Hours
Those without internet access or who have case-specific questions can call 1-877-644-6562 (OHIO-JOB) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Coronavirus-Related Claims
Workers who lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus can enter the mass-layoff number 2000180 on their applications. However, if affected individuals have already submitted claims without this number, they do not need to add it.

Click here for our special coronavirus section.

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