Problems with Ohio unemployment | wkyc.com

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In some cases, ODJFS representatives are asking people to give money back, after initially overpaying them.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — This year has been unprecedented when it comes to unemployment claims across Ohio.

Despite the growing need for financial help, Ohio Jobs and Family Services is still falling behind, and in some cases asking for money back from people.

Perrysburg resident Jane Heltebrake is one of many unemployed Ohioans who now owe the state money after being overpaid.

“Finally, a couple of months later, they realized what they did. They miscomputed my whole income,” Heltebrake said.

Heltebrake said she received a $5,000 overpayment, $2,000 of which she has paid back. But, getting a clear answer for the payment mistake has been unsuccessful. 

She initially filed all of the proper paperwork for her unemployment benefits, was getting regular payments, then was told she would have to pay some of the money back, due to a payment mistake.

“It wasn’t my fault, I argued that from day one. I said, ‘I scanned in my 2019 1040.’ It’s just very difficult to get through to anybody,” Heltebrake said.

Ohio Jobs and Family Services leaders acknowledged this is an issue, but said their hands are tied.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown has heard from a number of people facing similar problems. He believes the state has not invested the proper amount of resources into the unemployment office, as staffing issues are still a big concern.

“It’s now been March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and now December, and the bureau still isn’t scaled up enough,” Brown said.

Brown acknowledged the workers at ODJFS are stretched thin and are more prone to make mistakes due to long hours.

He said he hopes Gov. Mike Dewine and the state legislature will make it a priority to properly staff the unemployment office so workers can get the benefits they qualify for.

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