CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It was in July when Ohio Department of Job and Family Services officials uncovered large scale suspected fraud, as some were using fake social security numbers and fake names to make claims for pandemic unemployment assistance.
Eventually, ODJFS was forced to freeze 208,000 accounts and ask those claimants for additional information to ensure that the claims were legitimate.
ODJFS Director Kim Hall said that 111,000 of those claimants never followed through with additional information, which she said spoke to the level of fraud that the state was investigating.
Hall says the department has added staff to specifically address legitimate claims in hopes of providing benefits to those affected as soon as possible.
“There is a timing aspect to it, it is still a tremendous disruptor that this fraud has worked on our system," Hall said.
The department, according to Hall, also continues to process a $300 per week unemployment benefit mandated by President Trump, through executive order, on Aug. 8.
Those benefits will be retroactive to Aug. 1, so some people may see an initial lump sum close to $2,000.
“We expect to begin issuing those benefits later this month,” Hall said, “We’re on track with our user testing and systems enhancements necessary to get the $300 a week payment out the door.”
Those benefits, however, were limited and may even run out by the time they are processed. Meanwhile, U.S. Senate Democrats, on Thursday, did not support a scaled back Republican-led stimulus bill that would have extended the benefits.
Democrats said the stimulus bill did not go far enough to help the American people struggling financially during the pandemic.