COLUMBUS (WCMH) – During a statehouse briefing Tuesday, Ohio’s Lt. Gov. Jon Husted worked to reassure those seeking to file for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Husted said the capacity of the website where the public files for the benefits has been boosted 20 times its normal capacity and the state has added 100 employees to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) call center handling the filing of benefits.
However, Husted wasn’t satisfied.
“I said to them, ‘That’s not enough. We’ve got to do more,’” he said.
Husted said he was assured the vendors that they will be training and adding 180 more people to the call center.
“This is important, because you can’t just put anybody in there,” he said. “This is a complicated system that has to comply with the rules and regulations outlined in state and federal law.”
In addition, the Bureau of Workers Compensation is also going to be lending the state a hand in staffing the call center.
“For all of you who have had challenges, I want you to know your voices are being heard and they’re being acted upon,” Husted said.
Husted said anyone having trouble immediately filing for benefits will have those benefits backdated to the time the person was eligible to collect them.
The lieutenant governor also urged people who do get through to the call center to act accordingly and not be rude.
“The folks who are doing this, the ODJFS team on unemployment compensation who are on the frontlines, when you get through to them, understand that they are not the problem,” he said.
Husted said the state was working to get the employees at the call center better tools to better assist those applying for benefits.
Over the last two weeks, the ODJFS has processed twice as many claims as it has over the last two years combined, Husted said.
“The system is working for most,” Husted said.