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ODJFS contacting 5,000 Ohioans denied Pandemic Unemployment Assistance who may be eligible under new guidance

Posted at 12:29 PM, Nov 15, 2021

CLEVELAND — Approximately 5,000 Ohioans who were previously denied pandemic unemployment assistance may be eligible to receive benefits retroactively as a result of additional COVID-19 reasons established by the Department of Labor.

Beginning Monday, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said it would contact those who were denied PUA prior to February 2021.

“In February of this year, the Department of Labor expanded eligibility for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program,” said Director Matt Damschroder in a news release. “As we continue to work through the unprecedented level of activity cause by the pandemic, we now have the opportunity to reach back out to those who may have been eligible under the expanded eligibility.”

The federal PUA program, which ended in September 2021, provided benefits to individuals who were ineligible for state unemployment benefits, including self-employed workers, 1099 tax filers and part-time workers.

In February, the Department of Labor expanded the list of eligibility scenarios that could qualify someone for PUA. ODJFS modified its application process to include those reasons. Ohioans who were denied prior to the expanded list of eligibility scenarios may be eligible to have their applications reconsidered.

The ODJFS said anyone who is contacted by them is strongly encouraged to log into their PUA accounts to check their inboxes for a worksheet that details the process to reapply. Once the worksheet is available, individuals have five business days to complete it.