MENTOR-ON-THE-LAKE, Ohio — Jeffrey Clinton of Mentor-on-the-Lake said the loss of the extra $300 in federal pandemic unemployment benefits, stopped by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on June 26, has made an already difficult financial situation even harder.
Clinton lost his job as a manufacturing engineer back on March 1, and said with his stage 5 renal failure, it's been extremely difficult to find a good job to get him back to financial stability. Clinton, who said he's been on the kidney transplant waiting list for three years, said four-hour treatments make it harder to seek the employment he and his fiancee desperately need.
That's why Clinton is in support of legal action filed by Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann, and the Dann Law Firm. The lawsuit is seeking the restoration of federal unemployment benefits, and claims the Governor didn't have the authority to stop the monthly payments. The legal action, filed on behalf of three Ohio workers, was denied by a Franklin County Court last month, but is now under consideration by the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals.
“DeWine taking away the extra $300, and all the problems with unemployment, trying to get your money every week, it’s an abuse that you shouldn’t have to deal with,” Clinton said.
“He dictated that he was taking the $300 away, without seeing everybody’s individual circumstances, and there’s not the jobs out there that he says that are out there.”
Dann told News 5 his legal action will also seek retroactive federal unemployment dollars, especially since the federal program is set to end in Ohio on Sept. 4.
“The governor lacks the authority to say no to any benefits," Dann said. “All that money would have been spent directly on Ohio businesses, including the small businesses that the governor purports to want to protect.”
“The governor was acting without authority in causing the loss of probably close to $750 million to Ohio citizens. Our legal action requires the governor to seek the benefits, and to require the governor to go back to the federal government and try to get the back benefits as well.”
Dann Law Firm Partner BrianFlick told News 5 similar legal action is being pursued in other states to restore federal pandemic unemployment payments, including one state that has so far prevailed in restoring that federal benefit.
“There have been actions now filed in 12 states as of yesterday, Flick said. "The biggest success everyone points to is Maryland where this issue went all the way to the Supreme Court, there was an injunction granted at every level.”
DeWine's office quickly responded to our story, but said it could not comment directly on the on-going legal action.
The Governor's office issued the following statement:
"We cannot comment on the litigation as it is ongoing. The benefit in question is a supplemental benefits established by Congress in large part to help workers protect themselves before vaccines were available. Now that vaccines are widely available, the circumstances of that original emergency no longer exist."
Meanwhile, Dann believes Ohio's 10th District Court of Appeals will rule on his legal action in the coming days, as unemployed workers like Clinton hope federal benefits will soon be restored in Ohio.
“Oh it would definitely make a difference, it would get me caught up on my bills,” Clinton said “I’m sure there’s a lot more people hurting more than me, I had my fiancee to help me out, if I didn’t have her we probably would have been out on the street.”