Ohio lawmakers discuss reforming unemployment system


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Director of Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services Kim Hall testified Wednesday to the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee on the unemployment system. 

House Bill 614 would make reforming and studying the unemployment system a priority for the House of Representatives. Hall said at the beginning of her testimony she wasn’t there to make excuses but to give context so that Ohio can do better in the future.

“We can’t put people in this situation again,” said Rep. Jeff LaRe (R) Violet Township, Committee Vice Chair. “There’s still people out there that haven’t received their checks yet or haven’t received answers to their questions why they aren’t getting them. There is need for an immediate fix but obviously a long-term plan is the goal here.”

Hall said they have now processed around 92 percent of claims but understand those unprocessed claims belong to Ohioans in need. She cited a lack of time to prepare and a shortage of staff as reasons for the unemployment system faltering during this pandemic. 

“I think no one anticipated getting a million people thrust on unemployment in a very, very short time,” said Rep. David Leland, (D) Columbus. “So, I’m going to be interested in figuring out ways how we can do better next time.”

Hall laid out changes that have already been made to try and improve the system but said they are looking forward to federal help as well. 

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