Unemployment Updates: Pandemic unemployment programs end Sept. 4, fraud and overpayment waiver efforts continue

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Director Matt Damschroder today provided updates on several topics related to Ohio’s unemployment program.

Pandemic unemployment benefit programs end Sept. 4

Federal stimulus legislation that created Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits expires across the nation in early September. These programs end in Ohio on Sept. 4, although pending benefit applications and appeals for weeks on or before Sept. 4 will continue to be processed and considered after the expiration of the programs. In addition, new PUA and PEUC applications will continue to be accepted through Saturday, Oct. 2, but only for weeks of unemployment prior to Sept. 4. Individuals in this situation will have to call for staff assistance.

Created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, PUA supports self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and others who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment benefits. Likewise, PEUC provides additional weeks of traditional unemployment benefits for those who remain unemployed after exhausting their benefits.

As of July 31, more than 85,000 Ohioans were receiving PEUC, and more than 200,000 were receiving PUA. ODJFS is informing those still receiving benefits of other resources available to them, such as OhioMeansJobs.com and food, medical, and employment assistance available through county departments of job and family services and local OhioMeansJobs centers.

Ohioans with overpayments may apply for waivers

Since July, ODJFS notified approximately 700,000 Ohioans with non-fraud overpayments that they may be eligible for a waiver if the overpayment was not their fault. More than 73,000 traditional unemployment claimants and 630,000 PUA claimants received emails and/or letters through U.S. mail. To date, approximately 18% of those contacted have completed applications for waivers. Review of these applications will begin soon, once system programming is complete.