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Why Ohio's Unemployment System Might not Be Fixed Soon

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services oversees the state's unemployment system. State officials say the outdated system is challenged with technological problems, and those who are applying for or are receiving benefits still say the system is not working well.

Ohio’s unemployment system continues to be a challenge for thousands of Ohioans who say it is slow and non-responsive. And the system has needed some major updates. 

Gov. Mike DeWine says when he took over, there was a big problem with Ohio’s unemployment system: It was not connected to the internet cloud system. 

“It was clear we had to get on the cloud. And that process was started. And that process, I’m told by our team, will finish but will not finish until the end of this year," DeWine told reporters today.

Kim Henderson, the head of agency that oversees Ohio’s unemployment system, says not being on the cloud means the state has to come up with work arounds when the federal government makes changes to the process for unemployment dollars. Still, she and DeWine say the state is working to improve the system as soon as possible. 

In addition to the technological challenges, the state's unemployment system has been dealing with fraudulent claims. Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says more than half of the 1.4 million Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits claims made in Ohio have been flagged for potential fraud. Both Husted and DeWine say their identities have been used to create fraudulent unemployment claims.

As a result of fraud in the system, the federal government is now requiring more documentation in order to get the latest round of relief. Hall says that makes it harder for people to commit fraud, but it also bogs down Ohio's already challenged unemployment system.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles
Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.