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24,000 Ohioans Must Return Unemployment Overpayments

Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services in downtown Columbus.
Ohio Public Radio
Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services in downtown Columbus.

Tens of thousands of Ohioans are going to have to return the money they received in unemployment checks, because the state says it mistakenly sent them those benefits.

Around 24,000 Ohioans got "non-fraud" unemployment overpayments, which Ohio Department of Job and Family Services director Kim Hall says resulted from unintentional errors.

It was the state’s mistake, but Hall says that money must be paid back or there will be federal penalties.

“I wish there was some other way to handle that. The Department of Labor does not give states flexibility there,” she says

Hall says the government has given some flexibility to people who got overpayments from the program for those who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment.

Hall and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost are urging people who dispute an overpayment decision to file an appeal within 21 days. Hall says that will also slow down the repayment process.

“There’s some flexibility around repayment plans and things like that, but we do not have flexibility to just kind of, let it go," Hall says. "That would certainly be something that I would l wish for, but I can’t.”

Ohio recently took out a $3.1 billion loan from the federal government after its unemployment compensation fund went broke.