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Some Bonus Unemployment Checks Delayed As Ohio Continues To Update System

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

The federal government has authorized an additional $300 weekly unemployment checks, but many Ohioans say they are not getting them yet.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services director Kim Henderson says people who have been getting unemployment benefits are seeing the $300 weekly bonuses. But she says it’s more difficult for those whose benefits had expired when the federal money was authorized.

“It is kind of not as easy as it sounds,” Henderson says

Henderson says there are fraud controls put on this new money – which has been a big problem for the agency. Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says more than half of the 1.4 million Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits claims made in Ohio have been flagged for potential fraud.

Both Husted and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and say their identities have been used to create fraudulent unemployment claims.

As a result of fraud in the system, the federal government is now requiring more documentation in order to get the latest round of relief. Henderson says that makes it harder for people to commit fraud but it also bogs down Ohio's already-challenged unemployment system.

Gov. Mike DeWine says when he took over, there was a big problem with Ohio’s unemployment system because it was not connected to an cloud-based internet system.

“It was clear we had to get on the cloud," DeWine told reporters last week. "And that process was started. And that process, I’m told by our team, will finish but will not finish until the end of this year."

Henderson says not being on the cloud means the state has to come up with workarounds when the federal government makes changes to the process for unemployment dollars. Still, she and DeWine say the state is working to improve the system as soon as possible.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.