Ohioans wondering whether state’s reorganization of filing weekly claims will help expedite approval process

Unemployed Ohioans now urged to file weekly claims on designated days: 19 Investigates

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The unemployment office is reorganizing the way people file their weekly claims.

Officials say it will help the system deal with the high volume more effectively.

While that is certainly a move in the right direction, 19 News investigators asked whether that will help people still waiting to get paid.

Sandi Yeager lost her job in a trucking company’s call center, because business was so slow.

The panic really set in last week.

“I haven’t been in this spot in a long, long time,” she said. “To be honest, I had about $30 in my checking account.”

She’s since received her stimulus check.

“I have to decide what to do with it,” she said. “Who do I pay, and who do I not pay?”

She hasn’t seen a dime from unemployment though.

Her claims all remain pending, and like thousands of others, she can’t get through to talk to the unemployment office.

“After a while, why call back? Because I’m not going to get an answer,” she said.

Sandi, like everyone else filing for unemployment, has to file a new claim every week.

People usually do that on Sundays, putting an enormous pressure on the system and causing it to crash more often.

For that reason, ODJFS Director Kim Hall says the unemployment office put out a schedule for when people should file those ongoing claims.

Though online profiles will show that your next day to reapply for benefits is “Sunday,” the unemployment office is asking people to do their claims based on the schedule they released.

People with last names that start with A through H are urged to file Sunday; I through P file on Monday; and Q through Z should do theirs on Tuesday.

“This is a way to take that population that has already been approved, and just move them into cues based upon their last name," Halla said.

To which Yeager asked, "Is that going to help people that are still waiting to be approved?"

We asked Director Hall why the office wouldn’t put that in place for the call system too?

“We can’t mandate that,” she said. “People are still going to call. We have individuals who don’t follow the prompts and push anything out of frustration.”

Yeager says she’s been there. But, if the state set a call schedule similar to the one made for filing weekly claims, she’d follow it.

We told Director Hall that.

“We are considering that,” Hall said. “That is absolutely not off the table.”

“At least we know someone is in there talking to them and letting them know that this is a problem,” Yeager said.

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