Lakewood woman getting unemployment checks she says she never applied for from Ohio

Updated: Jun. 26, 2020 at 2:15 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A Lakewood woman said she’s getting checks from unemployment, even though she is indeed working and never requested it.

Peggy Jones is upset.

As thousands of people continue to wait on money from unemployment, she’s getting money she never asked for from the state.

So far, $2,000 has been deposited into her account.

Jones considered herself one of the lucky ones.

She has managed to remain employed through the pandemic.

A few weeks ago, she and her office got notification that she was approved to receive unemployment benefits.

“I sent two letters. I spent hours on the phone. I can’t get through to anyone. So, I filed a police report with the city of Lakewood,” she said.

It’s hard to say what if anything police could do in the case though.

Now, the checks are rolling into her bank account every week.

“Anywhere I’ve looked online to report this, it’s from the other end, not ‘Hi I have money, how do I give it back?‘” she said.

Jones is still trying to figure out how to alert officials, as thousands of real claimants continue the wait to be paid at all.

“So, here are all these people with claims for months, and I am gratefully employed and here I am, not filing a claim and receiving money,” Jones said.

Let’s not forget, the state’s unemployment fund ran out earlier this month.

So any money Jones gets is really digging Ohio into a deeper hole, as it borrows from the federal government to sustain the unemployment fund.

“I‘d like to figure out how do I reach someone in the unemployment office and make the checks stop and give this money I don’t rightfully deserve back to the government,” Jones said.

19 News brought her case right to the leaders of the unemployment office.

The directors said the issue is likely caused by someone filing fraudulent claims on her behalf.

Her case is unique, though.

“It’s interesting that she’s actually getting the money though into her account, versus someone using an identity and linking it to another account,” Director Kim Hall said.

“Obviously they must be an amateur at this,” Jones said.

“That’s not a usual kind of scenario that I see, because it doesn’t lead to any theft. But, it needs to be corrected, so we need that person’s information,” Assistant Director Bruce Madson said.

JFS says the unemployment office would likely eventually find out from Jones’ employer that she doesn’t qualify to receive money.

She'd then be asked to give it back.

“It’s alarming, and I’d like to have it settled,” Jones said.

There’s no telling though, how long it’d take or how many weeks of pay Jones would get before the matter would work itself out.

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