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Ohio asks unemployment claimants to file on designated days based on last name to expedite payments

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Posted at 3:35 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 23:16:05-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — To streamline unemployment claims and speed up payments, the state of Ohio has set up a system for individuals to file a weekly claim on a designated day based on the first letter of their last name.

Starting on Sunday, April 26, individuals who file a claim should do so on the day of the week specified below, according to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services.

Date

First Letter of Last Name

Sunday

A through H

Monday

I through P

Tuesday

Q through Z

Wednesday

All

Thursday

All

Friday

All

Saturday

All

The department said people filing should set their preference to electronic instead of mail.

“The new process will help relieve pressure on our system so that claims can be filed more easily and paid more quickly,” said ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall. “Once a claim is processed, payment can be made by direct deposit within three business days.”

The change is supposed to help streamline the process, which some people say is needed.

For weeks now, Antoine Wade has been trying to get through to someone at unemployment. Wade was laid off March 16 after nearly four years as a dishwasher and maintenance worker at Square 22 Restaurant in Strongsville.

"Every time I call, I get a recording that tells me to dial another number," Wade said.

And that number, Wade said, tells him he needs to use his PIN from the last time he applied for unemployment, back in 2008. Wade doesn't remember the PIN and said he was able to access a virtual chat function which told him his PIN would be mailed in three to five weeks. He still hasn't received it.

The last time Wade applied for unemployment, 12 years ago, he was able to go to an unemployment office in downtown Cleveland. But now, with phone and internet his only options, Wade is frustrated.

"I can’t pay my house, my lights, my gas," Wade said.

With no income, he also can't drive his car because he can't pay for insurance, and he's worried he'll be evicted for not being able to pay rent.

"It’s getting crazy out here and I don’t know what I’m going to do," Wade said. "I just don’t know."

ODJFS has been ramping up the number of people answering calls and processing claims. However, Wade said he personally hasn't seen any improvement in the system or his ability to get through. He doesn't have internet at home but has been going to someone else's house to use it to try to apply.

"I don’t know what they're gonna do, how they're gonna straighten it or what they're gonna do, but they need to come up with something very fast," Wade said.

Wade, who said he is also a veteran, is still waiting on his stimulus check and hoping it comes through soon.

"I’ve been in the workforce a long time and I’d like to get back to work, so if they could do something, please, help me," Wade said.

Ohioans can apply here or call 1-877-644-6562. That line is staffed 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays.

First-time applicants should be prepared for provide their name and Social Security number. If they are unemployed as a result of COVID-19, the mass-layoff number is 2000180.

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