Ohio’s unemployment office facing problems as claims skyrocket

Ohio's unemployment office facing problems with skyrocketing claims

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Filing for unemployment has become challenging — and unfortunately necessary — for thousands of workers across Ohio as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds.

Phone lines are tied up and servers are crashing, keeping money out of the hands of those who need it most.

Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine signed an executive order this week to relax requirements for unemployment benefits. Ohio Jobs and Family Services now says most Ohio residents can expect to receive a benefits payment within a week of applying.

But for people like Candace Bennington, applying is the problem.

“It is stressful,” she said. “I’m trying to remain calm and grateful, positive.”

Bennington is a single mother of a two-year-old and works as a server at Outback Steakhouse, which like all other restaurants in the state is only permitted to serve carryout or delivery.

“I’m very grateful to have food. I’m stocked, I’m good,” she said. “But financially, other than that, I’m screwed. I mean, I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Bennington explains she’s had a difficult time getting the unemployment benefits she needs.

“I would call and push 9 or 1 or 2 to talk to somebody, and then it would just disconnect me because the call volume is so high,” she recalled.

ODJFS says there have been more than 48,000 unemployment claims over the lasts two days compared to just 1,825 during the same two days lat week.

“I worry about being homeless, which I’m sure a lot of people do,” Bennington said.

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