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Unemployment filing frustrations grow

Unique situations make it tough to file online
Posted at 11:14 AM, Mar 31, 2020

With millions of people signing up for unemployment benefits right now, many of them are running into frustrating problems, with the biggest issue just getting onto your state's website.

But other filers are discovering that even the smallest glitch in your filing, or a unique situation, can make it impossible for you to file online.

In that case, you need to call or chat, and getting through to a live human can mean hours of waiting.

Crossing state lines can be an issue

One such problem: crossing a state line for work, as recently laid-off teacher Sarah Delaney learned.

Delaney lives in Kentucky, but teaches in a preschool in Ohio.

So when she started filing on Ohio's unemployment site, she found herself booted off.

"I got as far as putting my name in, and date of birth, and the website stopped working," she said.

She asked her mom, Mary, to help, who soon discovered the problem was that her daughter lived in a different state, which means the site would not recognize her Kentucky driver's license number.

"There's got to be thousands of people who come across the state, and have a different state's drivers license. It can't just be Sarah," Mary Delaney said.

So we checked with Ohio Job and Family Services, which operates the state unemployment website.

A spokesman told us if you have an out-of-state license, you need to select "none" when asked for your driver's license. Many people are entering their out-of-state license, which then voids out their application.

Once you choose the "no license" option, the site should then ask for your Social Security number instead.

Unfortunately, the only way to resolve many unique issues like this is to call or chat, which can now take hours.

"You call, and you wait, and you wait, and then it hangs up on you," Mary Delaney said. "There is just no way to speak with a human."

Improve your chances of getting through

  • Ohio officials suggest you call or visit the website during the evening or early morning, to boost your chances of reaching a human. They are also staffing phone lines on Saturdays 9 am - 1 pm for the near future, so you may have a better chance on Saturday. Call 1-877-644-6562.
  • Kentucky says its unemployment website appears to be working better this week, and tells us to check its website for local unemployment hotline numbers, scattered around the state, which should be easier to reach than the main state unemployment line. CLICK HERE for a list of regional phone numbers.

All you can do is keep trying. State officials throughout the country say their unemployment lines are seeing 10 times normal volume, and simply can't handle all the calls .... even with increased staffing.

So be patient, so you don't waste your money.

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