CINCINNATI — He describes himself as an "old gray guy" who is grateful that a local auto-parts shop hired him.
But it won't be enough to pay off the credit card balances Jeffrey Limerick has wracked up over the last year, or help rebuild the savings he spent while out of work during the pandemic.
“There was no money coming in other than my small Social Security,” Limerick said.
Limerick counts himself among the thousands of Ohioans who’ve been stuck in the unemployment system still waiting for relief.
Limerick was working as a limousine driver when the world came to a screeching halt. His “side hustle” appraising classic cars was also slow as the pandemic first hit, so last June he applied for unemployment benefits. Though he has been approved to receive them since November, he said he still has not received a penny.
“They kept asking me for the same paperwork over and over and over again," Limerick said. "I know I sent them a copy of my passport and my 2019 taxes at least 10 times."
Last week Limerick said he got an email from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, asking him to call a number for “adjudication,” but when he called he said the young woman on the line was confused by his claim because he now has a job.
“I kept on saying, you know, let me speak to your supervisor,” Limerick said, but he was told that only the call taker could communicate with the supervisor via email.
“My savings are pretty well depleted. My cards are at max. I’m making it, but barely,” Limerick said. “The government says that they’re there to help you with this. Well, I’m not getting any help.”
On Wednesday, Limerick received notice that his concerns had been forwarded to ODJFS “by your elected official.” The notice stated that unemployment technicians would be reaching out to him soon, but asked for patience as ODJFS is “experiencing longer resolution times than usual.”
ODJFS has agreed to address claims WCPO has brought to the agency’s attention, and we have forwarded Limerick’s claim to them.
In the meantime, the classic car business is booming now, said Limerick. That’ll help keep him going as he reflects on simpler times, when he drove some of those cars new.
“Friends of mine, we used to street race,” said Limerick with a smile. He said he knows we will get through these times.