COLUMBUS – Today, State Reps. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo) and Jeff Crossman (D-Parma) introduced House Bill (HB) 139, legislation requiring the Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to waive the collection of certain unemployment benefit overpayments received by Ohioans through no fault of their own.
“Ohioans are already struggling to pay rent and buy groceries, and they are having difficulties collecting their unemployment compensation,” said Rep. Sobecki. “Many Ohioans can’t afford to pay back an overpayment they might have received. This isn’t the time to require those overpayments.”
“While the federal government has permitted states the right to take this action, we thought it prudent to mandate the waiver of unemployment overpayments in Ohio to protect Ohioans if the payments were received in good faith through no fault of the recipient. Forcing unemployment recipients to repay the benefits they were initially told they were rightfully entitled to only adds more insult to injury during this pandemic. In many cases, the initial delays in receiving benefits took months to begin with and created substantial hardships for people,” said Rep. Crossman.
Due to the complexities and difficulties within the unemployment system, many have found themselves in a situation where they are now required to pay back large sums of money during a pandemic. This legislation aims to help those who were not at fault for the overpayment by ODJFS or for those who repayment would cause an undue hardship on the individual who received the payment.
HB 139 now awaits assignment to an Ohio House committee.