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Ohioans waiting for extended unemployment benefits shouldn't have to wait much longer

Posted at 4:09 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 16:09:33-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The thousands of Ohioans waiting for extended unemployment benefits into the New Year should soon see checks headed their way.

More than 95,000 additional Ohioans will be able to file for unemployment this weekend thanks to extensions of emergency unemployment and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services system updates, the agency announced Wednesday.

Federal legislation last month extended many of the pandemic unemployment programs first implemented last spring by the CARES Act for up to 11 weeks, but those extended payments have been delayed.

As WCPO 9 consumer reporter John Matarese explained last week, the extension of those benefits was not a straightforward process.

"The new federal legislation did not authorize simple straightforward extensions, which would have been the easiest to implement," said ODJFS director Kimberly Hall Henderson in a news conference. "It has extended and amended existing programs with many complexities that are taking all states time to implement."

ODJFS announced Wednesday their systems should have those changes implemented by Sunday, Jan. 31, making tens of thousands of recipients eligible once again. Extended benefits will be retroactive back to Jan. 1.

The new legislation increases the maximum number of weeks someone in Ohio is eligible for unemployment benefits -- standard and emergency benefits combined -- to 50 weeks. Those wishing to claim additional benefits have until the week ending March 13 to claim. Anyone who still has additional weeks out of their 50 total weeks of benefits can still file through April 10.

ODJFS also indicated some new program requirements will go into effect:

  • Will require a weekly certification specifying a specific “COVID-19 CARES Act reason,” beginning Jan. 26.
  • Will require individuals to substantiate employment or self-employment in the most recent tax year, beginning on Jan. 31.
  • Will require identity verification at the outset of a claim, beginning on Jan. 26.
  • Will impose new limitations on backdating claims.