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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Thousands Of Jobless Ohioans Still Haven't Gotten Checks

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services building in downtown Columbus.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services building in downtown Columbus.

The state has paid out more than $3.8 billion in unemployment benefits to over 683,000 Ohioans since mid-March, more than it’s ever paid out in a full year. And the state has paid $1.4 billion in federally funded pandemic unemployment assistance nearly 200,000 people who wouldn’t normally qualify for unemployment.

But there are still tens of thousands of jobless Ohioans who have yet to get a check.

94% of the more than 1.3 million claims filed since March 15 have been processed.  Less than 6% remain pending.

But Ohio Job and Family Services Director Kimberly Hall said 58,000 are still pending from last month, 7,000 from April, and 2400 from March – a total of 67,400 claims unpaid.

“Individuals’ claims that are still pending at this point in time reflect levels of complexity that require some really detailed expertise and interaction with our central claimants and we’re working through that,” Hall said.

Hall said many are interstate claims, and with so many states going through big numbers of claims, the whole process is backed up. She said identity and employer verification can be challenges too, especially since employment history has to go back 18 months.

Hall also noted that the number of people appealing rejections are up, though she says people who are denied traditional unemployment can immediately apply for pandemic unemployment assistance.

“Appeals absolutely are on an uptick. We have the staffing plan and the examination underway to address those," Hall said. "I will say on the customer side, though, there’s an opportunity to apply for PUA.”

ODJFS has said that no one has been denied unemployment for COVID-19 related reasons, such as lack of child care or health concerns. But the state is still evaluating its criteria for denials.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.