Bill To Change Unemployment Benefits Draws Fire

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks (Andy Chow / Statehouse Bureau)
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A bill to make big changes in Ohio’s unemployment compensation system is under fire from advocates for low-income Ohioans, who say it will hurt workers and their families. Statehouse reporter Andy Chow has more. 

The bill would cut the maximum length a worker can receive benefits from 26 weeks down to 12 weeks, and cuts extra benefits that are based on the number of dependents in a family.  

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt with Advocates for Ohio’s Future, a coalition of health and human services groups, says that would send more families into poverty.
 
Hamler-Fuggit: “Meaning that they will end up much more quickly in our food lines and are potentially at risk of losing their housing and becoming homeless.”
 
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Representative Barbara Sears, says it will make Ohio’s unemployment insurance solvent for any future recessions. Sears adds that, since the unemployment rate is so low, it’s time to cut benefits a little to relieve the pressure on employers.

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