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Will $300 weekly unemployment benefits return in Ohio?

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 9:49 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The fight to have Ohio pay back $300 weekly unemployment assistance benefits remains trapped in the court system.

During a hearing on Friday in Franklin County, the judge said a decision will likely be made next week.

On July 6, a lawsuit was filed in Cuyahoga County against Governor Mike DeWine and Matt Damschroder, interim head of Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, claiming the state wrongfully pulled the plug on the $300 a week benefits unemployed Ohioans were receiving through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC).

DeWine announced in May the FPUC payments would end June 26, citing a labor shortage as his reason why arguing the total amount of state and federal unemployment benefits a claimant received acted as a disincentive to return to work. Candy Bowling of Forest Park is one of the people suing.

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

But without the FPUC 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.”

The FPUC 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 judge ordered the benefits reinstated. 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.

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