Thousands of months-old unemployment claims remain pending as new layoffs continue

Thousands of months-old unemployment claims remain pending as new layoffs continue
Updated: Oct. 15, 2020 at 6:33 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Numbers from the Ohio Unemployment office show that new layoffs continue.

According to the data, 20,090 Ohioans filed new claims last week. That’s up about eight percent from the week before.

As more people come into the system, some of those already in it are going on weeks of waiting on money to come through.

Laronda Jackson applied for Ohio’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in May and waited months for any movement on her account.

“It’s leaving me in dire straights here,” she said."

She says she finally received encouraging information last month.

“I even got a letter saying that I passed the identity confirmation on the 9th of September,” she said.

More than 6 weeks later though, her weekly payments remain pending.

“I feel right now like I am losing it,” she said. “I feel like they’re giving me false hope.”

In July, 19 Investigates told you when ODJFS froze hundreds of thousands of accounts, flagging them as potential fraudulent claimants.

In order to move forward, people were required to fill out a questionnaire.

Director Kim Hall says 208,000 did not respond and she doesn’t expect them to.

“We don’t expect them to respond because they are incarcerated individuals, deceased individuals, individuals over 90 years old,” she said.

It’s unclear how many of those fraudulent claims were paid out before the state caught them.

The state has pushed some of the claimants through, after they completed the state’s questionnaire.

However, five percent of those who were flagged, got the questionnaire and filled it out, but are still pending, nearly three months later.

That’s more than 13 thousand people, trying to get action from the same processing department Jackson is.

“They’re telling me they have backlogs and just keep my head up,” Jackson said. “There’s people out here who need that money. I mean, I haven’t done anything fraudulent. It’s very unfair to us that we have to keep waiting.”

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