Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) announced today that Ohioans with unemployment overpayments through no fault of their own can now request a waiver that would absolve them of repaying these funds back to the state. Ohioans who have already repaid these overpayments but qualify for the waivers will have their money returned.
“The Ohio Unemployment System has been the worst State of Ohio management disaster of the entire pandemic. Since the pandemic began, more than 2 million Ohioans have applied for benefits that they deserved and earned. That total was more than the last four years combined, and the system and administration could not handle it. As a result, my office was overwhelmed by constituent calls from families desperate for help to put food on the table, but the system had failed them. Me and my staff worked tirelessly to help my residents in their time of need, but this administrative nightmare is far from over. I still have 8th District residents who have not gotten the relief they deserve or have been flagged for fraud that they did not commit. The overpayment waiver was a correct step to take but more attention is gravely needed—as of right now, there is no clear pathway for claimants to seek out these waivers independently or track the progress of their applications. It is clear that the unemployment system needs a massive overhaul, and I hope Governor DeWine will give it priority status,” said Rep. Kent Smith.
ODJFS officials say that they have begun notifying individuals, by U.S. mail or electronically, who are potentially eligible and are providing them with instructions for how to apply.
Notifications are being sent to claimants in the traditional unemployment program and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. If approved, all portions of overpayments could be waived, including the supplemental weekly $600 and $300 payments that were previously available as a result of federal stimulus legislation.