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270,000 Ohio Unemployment Claims On Hold Amid Fraud Investigation

Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services in downtown Columbus.
Ohio Public Radio
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Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services in downtown Columbus.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has put 270,000 unemployment claims on hold while they investigate possible fraud.

The department says it recently released 1,500 claims for payment that had been under investigation for fraud. State officials are still investigating about 270,000 other claims flagged as suspicious. 

The majority of those claims stood out because they are tied to fraudulent bank routing numbers, invalid email addresses or the names of dead people. The amount of money on hold is estimated at about $200 million each week.

“Unfortunately, there are criminals hoping to take advantage of the COVID-19 emergency at the expense of honest Ohioans who have earned their benefits,” said Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services Director Kimberly Hall in an emailed statement. “We regret that legitimate claimants have been caught up in this fraud scheme, but we are charged with maintaining program integrity so that we can preserve benefits for those who need them.”

Legitimate applicants will need to prove their identity to access their unemployment benefits.

Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services  continues to expand its staff to manage unemployment claims, and 20 new workers will start this week, according to a press release from the department.