Ohio Unemployment Customer Service Number – Cell phone footage shows how difficult it is for Jessica Zalants to reach someone at the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services.

, Ohio – Marcia Gassaway was among the first wave of Ohioans out of work due to COVID-19.

Ohio Unemployment Customer Service Number

Ohio Unemployment Customer Service Number

A single mother went to the emergency room on March 15. Due to coronavirus-like symptoms, doctors ordered him to be quarantined.

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“I call every day, every day,” he said. “I’m trying to get better with my health. It’s so scary… I cry at night because I don’t know what to do. ”

Every time he calls the number, he hears an automated message that the system is busy. Then it hangs.

Until his illness, Gassaway worked at an Amazon fulfillment center in Euclid. He wasn’t fired, but he didn’t have paid sick leave, and his doctors didn’t give him permission to return to work, where he could risk infecting his co-workers. Gov. Mike DeWine closed all Ohio bars and restaurants in mid-March, extending unemployment benefits to get people like Gassaway to stay home instead of spreading the virus.

Gassaway has been on the payroll for five weeks, and he doesn’t know why his claim hasn’t been paid. He went through one operator, telling him to send a note to the doctor. He did it. That was weeks ago, and he said his claim is still listed as “pending.”

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The Ohio Department of Labor and Families knows the system is in trouble because of the explosion of applicants since DeWine shut down non-essential businesses.

Between March 15 and April 11, the number of unemployment insurance claims filed doubled from the total for 2019.

During his daily press conference this week, DeWine raised a question about people waiting weeks for their first unemployment benefits.

Ohio Unemployment Customer Service Number

“It’s very sad, and we can go through all the reasons why this happens. But the bottom line is for those who haven’t received your check or logged in, I don’t think you want to hear anything. I think you want us to fix it. “

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The government has tried to expand its capacity to solve problems, and to create new methods for each new type of benefit that is added at the level of the state and the state. That includes an increase in benefits to $600 per week under the federal CARES Act, increased benefits for people receiving unemployment benefits, and new entitlements for self-employed workers or workers who do not earn enough to qualify.

Currently, though, all vehicles are routed through the Ohio Job Insurance system, which was established in 2004.

The government already had plans to upgrade the system and hire a company called Sagitec Solutions in January 2019 to build the new system. But it was expected to take two years. Nowhere near ready to take over when epidemic unemployment hit the department’s 16-year-old program.

According to the latest weekly government update, 855,197 people applied for unemployment between March 15 and April 11. During the same period, the department paid claims for 271,000,000 people – about 32%.

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Other states have been discouraged because their systems are written in COBOL, an old programming language that went out of business in the 1980s. Jobs and community spokesman Bret Crow said Ohio’s system is based on a combination of COBOL and Java, a widely used language.

“We’re not among other countries that have to beat around the bush to get people who know COBOL,” Crow said in his email. “While we’ve experienced slow processing times because our system is burdened with the same demands as every other state on the Internet, developers have not been a problem for Ohio,” he said.

The department continued to hire people to answer the phone. Before the shutdown, there were 42 unemployed telephone operators, according to Lt. Governor. John Husted announced this in a press conference on Wednesday. They now have about 1,194, all working remotely. Another 337 can join the team after completing the training.

Ohio Unemployment Customer Service Number

Husted said next week they will also add a voice recognition system to answer frequently asked questions, and create a virtual call center to reduce wait times.

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The average occupancy rate does not reflect the number of people who were blocked. Crow said he had no information on how often this happened.

One Facebook page for restaurant workers affected by the outbreak has more than 27,000 members. Every day, members post questions about messages on the site asking for unemployment insurance they can’t open, with clear announcements like “Break in Claim” or “Expected : $0.00.” They also sell tips on how to get through to users, such as choosing how to speak to someone in Spanish, since the operators are bilingual and the call volume seems to be low.

When the Ohio Journalist’s Eye wrote a post asking how many people were turned away when they called Job and Family Services, it yielded more than 270 responses. Most of the people said they’d been hung up on multiple times.

One member, Jessica Zalants, posted a video of the phone logs, which showed more than 150 calls to the state’s unemployment insurance line in three days. She said it didn’t show the extra calls her husband, a full-time engineer, made to her phone.

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Zalants and her husband, who have a 9-month-old son, have a home built outside of Cincinnati. Their financial advisor recommended that they wait to get a loan to get a better interest rate. Now he’s worried they won’t be able to get a loan or a down payment.

She said calling the unemployment line was the first thing she did when she woke up in the morning. When she and her husband went out for a bike ride recently, she kept calling the unemployment line on the way.

Amy Pheneger, who worked at The Standard until the layoff, said she spent hours standing in unemployment lines. But he said that was better than no solution at all. He went through 300 calls, counting three where he was able to speak to someone.

Ohio Unemployment Customer Service Number

“Like, this support comes over me when I hear the music,” he said. “It’s like, I’m standing, thank God,” he said.

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The first user he reached filed a complaint against him, which Pheneger was unable to do because the online system was so busy. Another user reached out and told him their computer was down, and another hung up on him.

His account currently has an “unclaim” notice. Crow said that if they want to see the sign, they should call a toll-free number to have the problem resolved.

Other members of the group say they didn’t meet the standard income for unemployment benefits because their managers didn’t give their tips, or they didn’t have them on the books publicly as employees.

Crow said many of those workers will be helped by the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

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“We decided to go that route to provide better customer service to a new group of people,” he said, “and to take care of our already overburdened system dealing with thousands of people who were out of work in unprecedented times.” history of our country.”

Husted said Wednesday that the pandemic program will receive applications by April 25, though payments won’t start going out until May 15.

That’s not enough for Danyelle Warner, who worked at Hilliard’s bar. He said he has not yet been able to receive benefits because his employer has not disclosed his full salary.

Ohio Unemployment Customer Service Number

Asked how she lives, she wrote in an email: “I’m not here. My savings are gone. I have $0.98 in the bank right now. I rely on the food bank just to feed my family.”

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“I know we don’t save lives. I know we’re not ‘frontline’ workers,” he wrote. “The industry used to be about us. I used to joke that even if the world ended, I could always go back to work and argue. That there would always be voting hours. somewhere.

“On March 16, our end happened. And there isn’t much going back for some of us. ”

Eye on Ohio is a nonprofit public interest organization that pursues in-depth, unpublished and critical journalism that exposes injustice and explores its consequences.

If you purchase products or register for an account online on our website, we may receive compensation. By using this website, you agree to our User Agreement and agree that your clicks, interactions, and personal information may be collected, recorded, and/or stored by us and our social media and third party partners in accordance with our Privacy Policy. The Ohio Unemployment Insurance (UI) program is a federal federal program that provides temporary financial assistance to eligible unemployed workers.

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