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Ohio Slows Down Processing Unemployment Claims After More Fraud Concerns

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.

Some of the 140,000 Ohioans who recently filed for unemployment may not be getting their checks soon due to fraud concerns within the system.

Many claims have been put on hold while the state investigates why there was a 200% week-to-week spike in requests. Gov. Mike DeWine says fraud is to blame, and Ohio is not alone.

“Well, everyone is having this problem. We have international gangsters," DeWine said at a Thursday press conference. Let’s call them what they are. They are international gangsters who are moving in and preying on the system."

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says that legitimate claims will be slowed down as a result.

“These are tax dollars… We don't want them to go out to criminals who are trying to defraud the American taxpayer,” Husted said. “The team also recognizes that there are a lot of people who are struggling who need this money, and if you have a legitimate claim, you will get every penny that you're eligible for.”

The state has uncovered 800,000 possibly fraudulent cases while processing federal pandemic unemployment claims. Ohio's system is not connected with the cloud and cannot easily process federal data.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported that in the last three months of 2020, the state paid $330 million to thousands of fraudulent unemployment claims. Meanwhile, thousands of people have reported being victims of identity theft.

DeWine last week announced the creation of a public-private partnership team at the ODJFS, which is working to improve fraud detection and other issues within the unemployment system.