Ohioans who are seeking unemployment benefits are having problems complying with the new requirements. In an interview with Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles, Angela Terez of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services explains what the state is doing to help.
TEREZ: "Since April, unemployment claimants have been required to complete certain activities on OhioMeansJobs.com in order to continue receiving benefits. So when new claimants are found eligible for the program, they're automatically registered with OhioMeansJobs, which is kind of like a virtual career center. It’s a resume and job bank with a lot of other features. So they're automatically registered and a temporary resume is posted for them. They're given a temporary password. And then by their eighth week of receiving benefits, if they haven’t yet found a job, they have to go in and make a new password and then update their resume if they want to continue receiving benefits."
INGLES: "These new requirements are supposed to be in effect right now, but I’m understanding that they might not be?"
TEREZ: "We are implementing that but we made the decision to delay enforcement of the new requirements because we received some calls from claimants who were having trouble with their password. There was no problem with the website. The website's working great. But some people are having trouble distinguishing some of the characters in their passwords, for example, they were confusing the l’s and the 1’s and the 0’s and the o’s. And so, naturally, they called a customer service representative for help resetting their password, but the security was so good that that representatives were not able to access the passwords to change them. That has since been corrected and we're making some additional process improvements to make that process more streamlined, but we made the decision to delay enforcement because we didn’t want to run the risk of inadvertently denying people benefits who were trying to follow the rules and doing what they should be doing. So that has been temporarily delayed."
INGLES: "OK, so when will you be putting those back in place where they will be enforced?"
TEREZ: "I can’t say for sure at this time, but it should happen soon. As I said, we’ve already fixed the font issue with the password and we've already made it possible for representatives to access the passwords. We're just doing some additional refining to make it as seamless as possible."