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Hamilton County woman joins Ohio suit over $300/week unemployment benefits

An Indiana judge’s ruling in a similar suit gives Candy Bowling hope she might see that money again.
Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 5:36 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WXIX) - A laid-off Forest Park woman and two others are demanding the state of Ohio reinstate weekly $300 unemployment benefit payments that stopped going out last month.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced in May the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments would end June 26.

Now Candy Bowling of Forest Park and Lakewood residents Shawnee Huff and David Willis are suing.

“I get a lot of stories that are very, very bad,” Bowling said.

DeWine cited a labor shortage as his reason for ending the PUA program, arguing the total amount of state and federal unemployment benefits a claimant received acted as a disincentive to return to work.

But without the PUA benefits, Bowling says she will lose the ability to pay for her ordinary household expenses including rent, utilities, medications for her pets and expenses for her service animals.

“My anxiety is up a lot,” Bowling said. “It’s nerve-wracking.”

Gov. DeWine’s office declined to comment on the pending litigation.

The federal PUA program is scheduled to end countrywide on Sept. 4.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb was the first tri-state governor to announce an early end to the state’s participation in the program.

A lawsuit arose in response to Holcomb’s order and last month a federal judge ordered the benefits reinstated pending the suit’s outcome. Holcomb is appealing.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has not stopped his state from doling out the benefits.

Bowling says she started looking for representation after the judge’s ruling in Indiana.

The suit asks for an injunction to reinstate the benefits as the case moves forward, just like Indiana’s.

She says someone in Ohio has to do something. She also says she gets a lot of “thank yous” from folks she meets.

“They are grateful that somebody is sticking up and saying, ‘Hey, we need these benefits, they help us,’” she said.

Cuyahoga County Judge Michael P. Shaughnessy was scheduled to hear the case July 21 but instead ordered a change of venue.

The case will now be heard in Franklin County court on July 23.

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