Ohioans must seek work to get unemployment
By Terry Troy
In what is sure to help fill jobs during the recovery from the pandemic, Ohioans are now required to resume a weekly job search this week if they want to receive unemployment, according to Matt Damschroder, interim director for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS).
“Now that Ohioans have had the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and can safely return to work, it only makes sense that we restore work-search requirements for everyone,” said Governor Mike DeWine.
“Ohio business owners are creating jobs faster than people are returning to the workforce,” said Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “Now that all Ohio adults have access to the vaccine, it’s time to return to the traditional work requirements.”
At the height of the pandemic from mid-March through Dec. 1, 2020, the federal government authorized states to waive work-search requirements. On Dec. 6, ODJFS resumed the work-search requirement for new unemployment claims, while exempting existing claims.
Allowable work-search activities include applying for a job, attending a resume-writing course, or creating and maintaining a reemployment plan on OhioMeansJobs.com.
Under Ohio law, some individuals will be exempt from conducting work-search activities, including employees on a temporary layoff of 45 days or less, and individuals in approved training. Additionally, individuals will meet their weekly work-search requirement if they are members in good standing with a union hiring hall that refers its members to jobs. For those in approved school or training, their work-search requirement may be considered met if they are attending all classes and making satisfactory progress.
In another step toward restoring the jobs market, Governor DeWine will also cut off the additional $300 in weekly federal assistance going to unemployed workers, starting on June 26. According to Lt. Governor Husted, there are plenty of jobs available in the state paying salaries of $50,000 and/or $15 an hour.
The State of Ohio’s unemployment benefits program has been plagued by fraud. According to Damschroder, ODJFS made $2.1 billion in overpayments from March 2020 to February of this year. That same month, the state estimated that it had paid out $332 million in fraudulent jobless claims in the last three months of last year. More than 185,000 claims were flagged for fraud starting at the end of January through the middle of April.