ODJFS: 33,000 of 147,002 jobless claims filed between Feb. 7-13 flagged for potential fraud

ODJFS: 33,000 of 147,002 jobless claims filed between Feb. 7-13 flagged for potential fraud
Ohio's jobless claims last week skyrocketed to their highest since 1981 amid the coronavirus crisis. (Source: File)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported 147,002 people filed for initial unemployment from Feb. 7-13 to the U.S. Department of Labor, which brings the total of unemployment claims filed in Ohio over the last 48 weeks to 2,563,344.

To put that total into perspective, the total number of claims for the last 48 weeks is more than the combined total of unemployment claims filed over the last five years, according to ODJFS.

ODJFS said Ohioans filed 307,923 continued jobless claims last week, which was 468,379 fewer than – or about 39% of – the peak earlier this year.

This includes both traditional unemployment claims and claims for extended benefits.

Additionally, 244,758 Ohioans received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) from Feb. 7-13.

Over these last 48 weeks, ODJFS said they have issued unemployment compensation payments totaling more than $8.4 billion to more than 931,000 claimants.

Additionally, ODJFS said more than 852,000 Ohioans applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and ODJFS issued more than $8.7 billion in PUA payments.

Of the 147,002 initial claims reported from Feb. 7-13, at least 33,000 have been flagged for potential fraud, according to ODJFS.

Anyone who suspects their identity was compromised and used to file a fraudulent unemployment claim is urged to report it to ODJFS immediately by visiting unemployment.ohio.gov, clicking the “Report Identity Theft” button, and following the instructions.

Individuals also may call 833 658-0394.

All eligible Ohioans will receive their unemployment benefits – and any delays in processing their claims will not reduce the amount received.

Also, workers who lost their job related to COVID-19 can use this number to expedite your claim through the system: 2000180.

However, if affected individuals already submitted claims without this number, they do not need to add it.

Filing a claim online remains the best way for Ohioans to access unemployment benefits at https://unemployment.ohio.gov/.

Ohioans without computer access need to call 1-877-644-6562 (OHIO-JOB) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.

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.

There is also a new website listing current open jobs in Ohio: http://Coronavirus.Ohio.gov/JobSearch.

Employers can also go online and post jobs.

ODJFS' Ohio To Work initiative is underway to help displaced workers reskill and restart their careers.

There is also an $8.5 million National Dislocated Worker Grant that will help unemployed workers and employers impacted by COVID-19, and a $9.4 million grant to expand apprenticeship opportunities.

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