Demand for unemployment benefits is skyrocketing across the state as the coronavirus continues to disrupt nearly every aspect of the economy. Last week, nearly 188,000 Ohioans filed a jobless claim, up from just over 7,000 the week before.
The initial jobless claims dwarfs those filed during the early Eighties recession.
Nationwide, more than 3 million Americans have filed for unemployment assistance.
Ohio Job and Family Services officials urge anyone who is out of work as a result of the statewide Stay at Home order to file a claim as soon as possible. The fastest way is to apply online -- at unemployment.ohio.gov.
The site crashed earlier this week due to overwhelming volume. And the agency reports delays in processing applications due to the unprecedented number of applications. In response, Job and Family Services has boosted staff, hours and server capacity to handle more claims more quickly.
"It's important to keep in mind that during previous downturns in the economy, claims came in waves as the recession worsened and industries began to shut down, whereas these claims came in all at once and created a tsunami. This amount of claims in this short expanse of time would tax any online system, especially one that is 16 years old. It’s also important to note that unemployment insurance automated systems around the country are also struggling with the increased claims load," officials said in a statement.
Here's how to apply for expedited assistance:
General Information: jfs.ohio.gov/unemp_comp_faq/index.stm
Coronavirus-Specific Information: jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm
Extended Call Center Hours
Those without internet access or who have case-specific questions can call 1-877-644-6562 (OHIO-JOB) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.
Workers who lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus can enter the mass-layoff number 2000180 on their applications. However, if affected individuals have already submitted claims without this number, they do not need to add it.
As a reminder, mass layoff notices are posted at jfs.ohio.gov/warn/current.stm.