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Husted Says Ohio is Catching Up With Unemployment Surge

photo of Jon Husted
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says the Department of Job and Family Service is quickly ramping up its ability to deal with the surge in unemployment claims.

The surge in COVID-19 cases may be yet to come in Ohio but when it comes to unemployment claims, Lt. Governor Jon Husted says that happened happened immediately. During Saturday’s coronavirus briefing, Husted said that the Department of Jobs and Family Services has added 20 times its normal capacity. However he acknowledges that hasn’t been enough, and they’re still adding staff.



“We know it’s not where it needs to be. And they continue to improve. That wait times continue to go down. I’m looking at the analytics on this and it’s still not where we want it to be.”


Husted expect the department to be in much better shape by the end of the week. He says he’s spoken with lt. Governors from other states and they’re in the same situation.



Starting from scratch

While Ohio officials hope to have the Department of Jobs and Family Services ramped up by the end of this week to fully handle the spike in unemployment claims, it may be a while before the state is able to provide the same help for independent contractors.  The federal coronavirus stimulus package included help for those who file 1099’s, At this weekend’s coronavirus briefing, Lt. Governor Jon Husted said they’re still waiting on direction from the federal government on how to set up that program.



Husted on creating a program to help independent contractors

“We do not even have direction from the federal government on how to set up that program, yet.  That is weeks away. The program that the CARE Act included money for it but it gave no mechanism for the distribution of that money.”


From determining who qualifies to how the money will be distributed, Husted says this program is being built for scratch. He says they’ve engaged the private sector in this, but it’s a challenge not knowing what the federal guidelines will be. He says despite the delay, anyone who qualifies for this benefit will have the aid back-dated to the moment they became eligible, not when they’re able to apply.


Andrew Meyer is the deputy editor of news at Ideastream Public Media.