Was taking away Ohioans' extra $300 unemployment payments the right move?

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Posted at 6:37 PM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 18:48:56-04

FOREST PARK, Ohio — Single mother Angela Perry-Jacobs left her nursing home job during the pandemic so she could stay home with her children, hoping unemployment insurance would allow her to support them financially while helping them with their remote education.

She’s still waiting for her first payment.

"I had to leave my job to make sure my kids would get their education, and I got no help from my employer,” she said. “I get no help from the state, as far as unemployment is concerned. I was just out there. They left me out there."

Thousands of unemployed Ohioans have spent months relying on money from the state, which until recently supplemented their usual checks with $300 emergency payments from the federal government.

Those extra payments were meant to continue until Labor Day in September, but Ohio’s state government began refusing them in June. Announcing the change, Gov. Mike DeWine said he wanted Ohioans to return to work — and he believed the $300 payments were disincentivizing them.

Perry-Jordan said it’s not that simple. So did Zach Schiller, who works for Policy Matters Ohio.

“Many people have legitimate continuing concerns about their health and their family's health,” he said. “They have difficulties in finding childcare."

And all of these things can prevent them from returning to work, even if they want to do so.

“I just think they need to be considerate of everyone and not put everyone in the same boat,” Perry-Jordan said.

Perry-Jordan added she recently started a new job, but she’s still struggling. She’s not sure what the fall holds for her children’s education — and whether she’ll need to step away from other responsibilities to keep it on track again.