Ohio Working To Fix Tech Problems As Unemployment Claims Pass 187,000
State officials say they are putting every resource they have into ramping up Ohio's unemployment compensation website, which has been crashing due to the massive influx in requests.
The unemployment compensation fund went from taking in a few thousand requests just two weeks ago to more than 187,000 requests last week.
As people around the state voice frustration with their inability to file claims, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says they have a tech team working overtime to build up capacity.
"We're going to make this available to you," Husted said. "We're doing everything we can to bring the resources to bear to solve this problem. I ask you know that we are empathetic to your situation."
At Thursday's press conference, Husted added that unemployment benefits will be retroactive, so even if people have trouble accessing the website, they'll still get benefits based of their date of job loss no matter when they file.
Husted said the site had more than 400,000 visits on Tuesday, the day Ohio's "stay at home" order went into effect. He also said Congress is working on a bill that would expand unemployment to 1099 workers, including freelancers and independent contractors, who currently don't quality for benefits.
Gov. Mike DeWine also gave assurances that Ohio's unemployment compensation fund will be able to handle the sudden surge of applications.
“People should not worry. The money will be there," DeWine said. "They should continue to apply, as we want them to do.”
However, DeWine said that the fund still needs to be shored up by Ohio lawmakers.
"We've known for a long time that we have to have a long-term fix, that's something we'll have to do with the state legislature," DeWine said.
The state last week was offering daily unemployment filing numbers, but have since switched to report weekly after a request from the U.S. Labor Department.