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Viewer concerns: unemployment, stimulus, safety

'Ask Me Anything' event nets over 200 questions
These states have the lowest unemployment rate
Posted at 10:23 AM, Apr 24, 2020

As the Cincinnati area works to rebound, WCPO 9 had an "Ask Me Anything" on Facebook Thursday morning, and more than 225 viewers asked away.

The top question concerned unemployment benefits, the stimulus program, and when Ohio and Kentucky businesses can reopen.

Many people, especially independent contractors, were frustrated trying to collect unemployment insurance.

Where are benefits for the self-employed?

House cleaner Debbie Sturm asked when self-employed people like her can finally file for benefits in Ohio, where the Job and Family Services website continued to kick out her attempts to apply.

"There is nothing yet for the self-employed or people with 1099 income," she said. "You can only hear 'It's coming' so many times."

Ohio is behind other states on getting benefits to many independent contractors. Lt. Governor John Husted said earlier in the week those benefits should start coming next week.

What if your job crosses state lines?

Dick Weber asked a question that affects many people in the Tri State: "Does a person file for unemployment in the state they work in or the state they live in?" he posted.

In most cases it is the state you work in, so you should apply there for benefits first.

When are stores and businesses reopening?

A number of questions concerned businesses reopening. Reactions were mixed to allowing it soon.

Anne Gallagher said: "I am a local hairstylist. Georgia has lost its mind, allowing salons to reopen right now. I'm not ready for that risk."

But Doris Eckes is jealous of Georgia reopening its gyms. She has no problem wearing a mask and wiping down machines.

"I have one question," she posted. "When will Planet Fitness reopen?"

That's up to Govs. Mike DeWine and Andy Beshear, and they may give some indication early next week,

No stimulus checks

Two dozen messages concerned stimulus checks that have not arrived.

Unfortunately, the answer is that all you can do in that case is enter your personal information at the IRS website, If the IRS does not have your bank account on file, they will mail you a check in one to two months. There is no one you can call for help.

Stimulus catch for college-age students

Tori Adams asked, "Why are 17- and 18-year-olds not eligible for stimulus checks?"

Many parents and college students are discovering that. It turns out the stimulus plan left a big crack, that many 17- to 23-year-olds are falling through.

They don't qualify for a $1,200 check if they are claimed as a dependent on their parents' tax return, even if they work a job.

But if they are out of the home and at college, their parents may not receive $500 for them either.

When will we feel safe?

Finally, Cheryl Purvis asked me if we will ever feel safe in public again.

I hope so, but it may depend on the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine, and that is a question that is far above my pay grade.

Thanks for the comments, and as we work toward the rebound, don't waste your money.


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