The Ohio Department Job and Family Services has paid more than $2 billion in unemployment benefits to nearly 560,000 Ohioans since mid-March. But that’s only half of the 1.1 million claims that have been filed.
Department director Kimberly Hall said some people have filed more than once, so when duplicate claims are weeded out, the base number of claims is 1.05 million.
“Approval at 655,000 was about 62%, denied about 27.1%, and so pending, we’re at 110,000, which is about 10%," Hall said.
Hall said about 6,500 claims were withdrawn. That leaves about 95,000 claims that weren’t paid because ODJFS says they qualify for some weeks but not others.
Hall said the system to pay nearly 200,000 self-employed, independent contractors and 1099 workers should be ready to accept claims this week.
Some of those workers have been pre-registering for the unemployment system, which the state had to build because it wasn't in place before the pandemic began. Last week, Hall reported 185,000 had pre-registered.
There has been widespread concern about the state's webpage through which employers can report employees who don't return to work. Advocates are worried that will lead to workers being denied because they worry about the safety of businesses, or don't have options to care for their children since daycares still remain closed.
Hall clarified during Gov. Mike DeWine's press conference Monday that no one has been denied unemployment because child care centers aren't open. Hall said return-to-work guidelines that are in place are being evaluated to examine "the health and safety aspects" involving child care.
“No benefits are being denied right now as a result of a person’s decision not to return to work while we continue to evaluate the policy," Hall said during the briefing.
DeWine has said an announcement on child care is coming soon.