By: Debbie Campbell
With many businesses ordered to shut their doors and lay off their employees, many people are filing for unemployment. A system that is made to handle an average of 5,000 applications per week is now being bogged down by tens of thousands that are trying to apply.
People are experiencing error messages or just blank screens as they try to secure their benefits.
On Monday, at the State daily briefing, Lt Governor Jon Husted stated, “The system was not built for a crisis. It was built to take care of what we could expect on a regular or even robust basis, but what we’re experiencing now is frankly unprecedented.”
“We have put our best tech team on this to get this up and running. I’m hopeful that it will be more functional, more dependable here in the coming days.” Last week, approximately 139,500 claims were filed.
Unfortunately, this isn’t just affecting people trying to file for new benefits. This is also causing issues for people that had claims prior to the shutdowns caused by COVID-19.
These individuals are running into problems when they log is to file their weekly claim. If the weekly claims are not filed in a timely manner it can delay the process in which benefits are received.
Jobs and Family Services released the following statement:
We have received a record number of initial jobless claims over the last eight days. During previous downturns in the economy, claims trickled in whereas these claims came in all at once. This number of claims in this short expanse of time would tax any online system. We have been working around the clock to fix any issues with the online claims system so it can handle the number of claims, which has affected processing times. Each claim is important to us, and we recognize the hardship that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on many Ohio families. Despite the intermittent issues with the online claims system today, going to unemployment.ohio.gov remains the best way for Ohioans to file a claim. To handle the onslaught of calls, we are taking an all-hands-on-deck approach and have shifted a number of employers from other areas – and adding more each day – in our agency to help answer questions and process applications on the phone. We have hundreds of agents working the phone center, but we continuously reassign, re-prioritize and add resources to this effort. We also extended the call center’s hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that this is an unprecedented time so we would ask callers and filers to have patience. We have found that many people are calling to reset their PIN. Most people will be able to use the instructions provided on the phone without needing to speak with someone to reset their PIN because the automated prompts will lead them through the process. If they are not able to reset their PIN, then they will need to speak with a representative. Once they reset their PIN, they can file their claim online. Thanks
Debbie Campbell may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org