Unemployment claims drop, benefit compensation worries rise

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COLUMBUS (WCMH)–The number of Ohio new unemployment claims dropped about ten percent last week. According to a new report from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, 27,937 initial jobless claims were filed during the week ending July 25th. That is down from 30,325 the previous week.

ODJFS reports 423,452 continuing claims were filed last. Those are claims by individuals who started filing for benefits in previous weeks. The agency says that is 352,850 fewer than the peak earlier this year and is an indication of how many people are going back to work.

Kandiss Bondurant of Blacklick is among those filing continued claims and in concerned about the potential loss of the $600/week federal supplement she has been receiving on top of the state’s regular unemployment benefit.

“I have to financially support my children as far as paying rent, car payments, my kids activities, going back to school, things like that,” Bondurant said.

Lawmakers in Washington are debating what to do with the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program that is set to expire on Friday. The program provided a $600/week supplement to unemployed Americans over the past four month.

Democrats want to extend the program. Republicans have argued the benefit has become a disincentive to return to work and have proposed reducing the amount to $200 weekly. Some have proposed a maximum unemployment benefit of 70 percent of an individuals previous income.

Bondurant lost her job as manager of the Epic Buffet at the Hollywood Casino when the stay-at-home order shut everything down. She is a single mother of three and has been unsuccessful in finding a new job. She says the $600 weekly supplement has allowed her to stay on top of her bills.

“Even if they reduce it down to 200 dollars, it still impacts us a lot,” Bondurant said.

Over the last 19 weeks, ODJFS has distributed more than $5.7 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 764,000 Ohioans.

In addition, ODJFS has issued more than $4.7 billion in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments to more than 492,000 PUA claimants.

Coronavirus in Ohio resources:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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