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Changes To Ohio's Unemployment System Reduces Fraudulent Claims

This April 22, 2014, file photo shows an employment application form on a table during a job fair at Columbia-Greene Community College in Hudson, N.Y.
Mike Groll
Associated Press

More than 270,000 people have filed for unemployment in Ohio over the last week, including more than 22,000 who filed first time claims. State officials say that's a number that continues to decline as they also work to fix the bugs in the filing system.

After months of case backlogs and reports of fraud, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says they're seeing things improve after a new public-private partnership.

Matt Damschroder, ODJFS interim director, says those changes include a new identity verification procedure using the credit monitoring service Experian and the legal database Lexus Nexus to weed out fake claims. 

"We're intercepting more fraud attempts and seeing a decrease in the number of initial claims being filed," says Damschroder. 

He says a week after making these changes the number of initial applications for traditional unemployment dropped by 45% and applications for the federal pandemic unemployment assistance dropped more than 65%.

As Damschroder also explained, more than 70% of claimants, who requested to talk directly to an agent, successfully completed their case. That's compared to less than 20% in January.

The public-private partnership, known as the P3 Project, began in February. Working with the state are experts from different companies, including; Fifth Third Bank, Nationwide, Western and Southern Financial Group, Encova Insurance and Key Bank.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.