CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The wait continues for people who need unemployment benefits to kick in.
People who’ve successfully navigated the overloaded claims process tell 19 News that they’re still waiting to get paid.
Astounding new unemployment numbers were released Thursday by the state. They help explain what’s likely causing the unprecedented delays.
The unemployment office says it’s received over a 100,000 more claims in the last two weeks, than it got during the entire year of 2019.
Restaurant owner Matt Spinner said he’s had to help employees pay rent and car payments recently, because they haven’t gotten an unemployment check.
“Everyone is in this limbo trying to scrap together to take care of one another,” he said.
He said he was forced to lay off his staff at Ushabu in Tremont.
“I had to just keep reminding myself that it’s what we had to do to keep the business alive,” he said. “But I’d be lying to you if I told you I didn’t sit in my car and cry about what was happening.”
He helped three employees navigate the frustrating woes of filing for unemployment. He experienced the website crashing, and the difficulty getting through on the phone.
“Emotionally, it’s a giant punch in the gut to call to want to sort out the things that you know you need to sort out and to in effect be hung up on by your lifeline to feed your children,” he said.
New numbers released show more than 272,000 people filed new claims last week.
At the beginning of this week, the Lt. Governor was pushing for more resources to help people get through online and on the phone.
Officials say they’ve now shifted 300 state employees to make those areas run smoother.
Spinner says the website is working a little better now, but there are still major issues that haven’t been addressed.
“While the tech side may be snappier, certainly the response is still zero at all,” he said.
It has now been 17 days since Spinner’s employees successfully filed and still, there’s no money.
“They’re all going through. We’ve got confirmation numbers,” he said.
We brought the concern to Kim Hall, the director of the Ohio Deparmtnent of Job and Family Services.
Late Thursday afternoon she said 14 days is the average it’s taking people to get their checks, but it could take up to three weeks because of the volume of claims being handled.
Spinner said he’s been eager to apply for a disaster loan that could help pay rent, utilities and payroll.
The opportunity to apply was part of the stimulus bill that passed last week.
The paperwork didn’t even arrive until Thursday and he believes it could be weeks before he sees any loan money.