CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohioans who have successfully filed for unemployment are beginning to see bigger amounts deposited in their accounts.
ODJFS Director Kim Hall says the state has officially begun sending out the additional $600 payments included in the Federal Cares Act.
“The goal is certainly that people are able to stay engaged with the economy and avoid a recession or more economic downturn,” Hall said.
However, thousands of others are still waiting to see a cent.
19 News investigators continue to advocate for them.
We helped connect one woman with an unemployment agent. Now, Katie Yauger has three weeks of checks sitting in her account.
“I just like jumped out of the bed and was like ‘Oh my God! I got my money! It worked!'" she said. “I checked my bank account, and I just couldn’t get over it.”
Yauger began filing for unemployment when she lost her job as a bartender last month.
The money she recently received was three of those $600 checks-- for the three weeks she’s filed claims.
“It felt like Christmas,” she said.
New numbers released this week said that nearly a million Ohioans filed new unemployment claims in the last five weeks.
The state says the unemployment office has approved more than half of them and paid nearly 400,000 people.
While that’s a huge amount of work completed, Director Hall knows there are so many others still struggling.
Nearly 250,000 claims are still pending right now.
“I am not satisfied. I just want to make that clear,” she said. “But, I do want to emphasize that when we have progress in key areas, I do intend to let the public know that these are things that we are working on to keep laying on improvements over time.”
Starting Friday, those who did not qualify for regular unemployment can begin pre-registering for the state’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.
When those payments go out in mid-May, people who qualify will receive an amount based on the income on their 2019 taxes plus that additional $600 dollars too.
To pre-register for PUA benefits, Ohioans should visit unemployment.ohio.gov and click on “Get Started Now.”
This program will provide benefits to the following categories of workers:
- Those who were self-employed, worked part-time, or do not otherwise qualify for regular unemployment benefits and fit one of the categories below
- Those unable to reach their place of employment because of quarantine
- Those unable to reach their place of employment because they have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine
- Those whose place of employment is closed because of COVID-19
- Those who were scheduled to start work but who no longer have a job because of COVID-19
- Those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19
- Those with a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- Those providing care to a family or household member with COVID-19
- Those with primary caregiving responsibilities for children or others who are unable to attend school or another facility due to COVID-19
For those eligible, PUA benefits will be retroactive to the date they qualified, as early as February 2. The program will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits to many who historically have not qualified for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed workers, 1099 tax filers, part-time workers, and those who lack sufficient work history.