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Q&A: Here's what Cincinnatians asked us about unemployment, stimulus, closed BMV

"Ask me Anything" opens to viewer questions
White House commits to sending stimulus checks within 2 weeks
Posted at 12:01 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 20:11:42-04

You have questions? We have answers.

Or at least we're trying to find them as the Cincinnati area works to rebound.

More than 120 viewers shared their concerns this week, mostly with frustrations over accessing the money they desperately need to pay their bills right now.

No stimulus for some older adults, college students?

Brittany Williams said it is unfair that her mom, who is a senior citizen, won't get a stimulus check because she is claimed on her daughter's taxes as a dependent.

"Even though she doesn't make enough or claim enough to pay taxes, she should still be entitled to things being given out to other Americans," Williams wrote. "She doesn't even get $1,000 a month, so it would help her a lot."

That's because of a loophole in the CARES Act: Adults claimed as dependents cannot get $1,200 stimulus checks of their own. If they're over 17, the person claiming them also won't get the $500-per-dependent payout enumerated in the law — it's only for dependent minors.

The loophole leaves older adults like Williams' mother without coverage. It also affects many undergraduate college students, most of whom are over 17 but still claimed as dependents on their parents' or guardians' taxes. They're too old for their families to receive $500 for claiming them, but not yet equipped to file their own taxes and receive a $1,200 payment of their own.

Do I get unemployment benefits for reduced hours?

Sherri Wolfe had her hours reduced and said no one can tell her if she qualifies for unemployment benefits.

"Is it because I am not quite half time, or because I am more than 20 hours, so not a true half-time person?" she asked after her hours were cut from 40 to 24 a week.

Under the federal CARES act and Ohio's new Shared Work Benefits law, workers with hours cut do qualify for benefits, albeit at a reduced level. Wolfe should be able to receive about 40% of the compensation she would receive if unemployed.

When can I renew my expired driver's license?

Autumn McGee said she can't get a job right now because her driver's license expired and Ohio's BMV offices are all closed to the average driver. Only truckers seeking to renew their CDL licenses are getting service.

McGee said a call center turned her down because she did not have a valid license to submit to them.

"People are trying to find jobs, but their license is expired, and employers won't hire with an expired license," she said.

Unfortunately, until BMV offices reopen, you cannot renew your Ohio license. You are safe to drive in Ohio, as police will not cite you, but you can't use the expired license to fly or apply for work.

Where's my stimulus?

Finally, most of this week's questions concerned missing stimulus checks. All you can do for now is look up your name on the IRS website, IRS.gov, and try to enter your bank account number if they do not have it.

You cannot call anyone at the IRS or state level about your stimulus check. If it does not arrive by direct deposit, you should receive it by mail in the next month or two.

As always, don't waste your money.

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Click here or call (877) 644-6562 for information about unemployment benefits in Ohio.

Click here or call (877) 369-5984 for information about unemployment benefits in Kentucky.

Click here or call 1-800-891-6499 for information about unemployment benefits in Indiana.