Ohio unemployment applications skyrocket in wake of coronavirus outbreak

Unemployment Benefits_206325

FILE – In this Tuesday, July 19, 2016, file photo, a job applicant attends a job fair in Miami Lakes, Fla. On Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, the Labor Department reports on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits a week earlier. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio’s Department of Jobs and Family Services has seen over 77,800 applications for unemployment compensation in the last three days.

According to an email sent by the ODJFS, an average week would bring around 5,500 applications. But with Governor Mike DeWine’s recent changes to unemployment eligibility due to the coronavirus outbreak, the numbers have skyrocketed.

To handle the onslaught of calls it is taking an all-hands-on-deck approach and has shifted a number of employees from other areas to help answer questions and process applications on the phone. 

ODJFS has also extended its call center’s hours of operation to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Due to the unprecedented nature of the situation wait times have been long. 

To ease the burden on the phones, callers should follow the instructions provided through the automated prompts if they need to reset their account PIN. If they are unable to, then they will need to speak with a representative. 

Filing a claim online remains the best way for Ohioans to access unemployment benefits at https://unemployment.ohio.gov/.  Unemployment-related coronavirus questions are available at http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm.  For those without computers, call 1-877-644-6562.

What are the requirements to file for unemployment benefits?

  • You must be totally or partially unemployed.
  • In 2020, you must have worked at least 20 weeks in covered employment and earned at least $269 in the base period (four out of the last five completed calendar quarters).
  • You must be unemployed through no fault of your own.
  • If you had a prior unemployment claim that is expired, you must have worked in covered employment since the beginning of the prior claim year to reestablish yourself as a worker.

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