Ohio New Unemployment Claims Jump 194%, State Suspects Fraud
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports 140,444 new jobless claims were filed last week, with a majority of them flagged as potentially fraudulent.
The number of new claims filed the week ended Feb. 6 is a 194% increase from the previous week, when there were just shy of 48,000 claims filed. The 140,444 filings last week would be the highest since the week ended April 11, 2020.
Prior to Feb. 6, 44,000 claims have been flagged under suspicion of fraud, the agency said in a statement, and more than that number in the most recent week are expected to be fraudulent.
“ODJFS is investigating all claims that were flagged for potential fraud and taking steps to implement more robust identity verification in the traditional unemployment program. Identity theft and fraudulent unemployment claims are a widespread national challenge,” the department said in a statement. “Many Ohioans have become victims, and their identities used to file fraudulent unemployment claims in both the traditional unemployment and pandemic unemployment assistance programs.”
In January, the Department of Job and Family Services issued 1.7 million 1099-G tax forms to those whose names were used in paid unemployment claims. Many people reported that they did not receive the benefits and were unaware their name had been used to submit claims.
Those who believe their identity has been used to file fraudulent unemployment claims can call 833 658 0394 or use the “Report Identity Theft” button at Unemployment.Ohio.gov.
In addition to the new unemployment claims, there were 300,638 continued claims field with the agency last week.
Since the pandemic began 47 weeks ago, the state has paid more than $8.3 billion in unemployment compensation to 925,000 Ohioans, as well as $8.5 billion in pandemic unemployment assistance to 837,000 people.
In Pennsylvania, the state’s Department of Labor reports 31,730 claims were field the week ended Feb. 6. Since the pandemic began in mid-March 2020, there have been 2,735,171 claims filed in the state. Pennsylvania has paid $6.9 billion in unemployment compensation and $7.5 billion in pandemic unemployment assistance.
Nationally, 793,000 people sought unemployment benefits last week, a drop the week before, according to the Labor Department.
Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.