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Weekly work-search requirement now reinstated for Ohioans applying for unemployment

Ohio Headlines
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July 04 2021 08:00 pm

COLUMBUS (WJW) — Nearly all out-of-work Ohioans applying for unemployment benefits must now show their job hunting progress to the state government.

Starting Sunday, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Ohioans is reinstating its weekly work-search requirements for all of those looking to receive unemployment payments.

“Being a charity and wanting to help people, we understand that these are extra hoops for people to jump through, it’s more to do,” said Alex Sheen, founder of Because I said I would.

The non-profit that runs an unemployment transition program for people in Northeast Ohio.

“I also see the accountability side, which is what we teach in our program.  So, it’s really about striking that right balance that serves the needs of people but using government funds as effectively as possible,” said Sheen.

These changes come as businesses all across Northeast Ohio are struggling to hire new workers. 

“We are processing hundreds and hundreds of applications and we are having such a fraction show up for the interviews,” said Fabio Salerno, owner of Lago East Bank in the Flats.

The restaurant industry was hit hard by the pandemic. But with millions of Ohioans getting vaccinated and the summer season almost here, business is back but owners are struggling to hire enough staff.

“I’m saying 95 percent of the applications that we’ve processed have not shown up for their interviews,” said Salerno.

Salerno says he believes the unemployment benefits are contributing to the restaurant industry’s hiring crisis.

“It’s a major struggle for everyone in our industry.  Everybody across the board, too.  Everybody I know throughout the city are going through the same exact thing,” said Salerno.

The reinstated requirements do not apply to those who are temporarily laid off for up to 45 days and those who are taking certain types of training or schooling.

The work-search requirement was removed when the pandemic hit in full force in March 2020, with the federal government signing off on the measure. When that authorization ran out in December, those who were applying for new benefits had to start showing work progress.

At the time, those with existing claims were exempted from the requirement, but that changed Sunday.

“Now that Ohioans have had the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and can safely return to work, it only makes sense that we restore work-search requirements for everyone,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement earlier this month.

The reinstated requirements do not apply to those who are temporarily laid off for up to 45 days and those who are taking certain types of training or schooling.

Find out more about Ohio’s unemployment benefits program right here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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