Unemployed Workers Let Your Voice Be Heard

I want to work together with other unemployed workers here in Ohio to tell our stories. The post I made on January 21st about how Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) treats unemployed workers as criminals has been getting a lot of comments from my fellow unemployed workers. I have seen some asking what they can do. Many of us can not get someone on the phone or get any money paid out from ODJFS. This has become a huge problem since the new year, but I am learning from others that it has been a problem since before the new year for many. Some want to protest. But it occurred to me while reading peoples comments here on Gonzo Times that we might have a tool to reach a lot of people at home and draw more attention to the issue. We have our real lived experiences. We have what we have suffered through during this pandemic. It is one thing to hear someone say there is a problem. It is another to see and hear about our real lived experiences and struggles. One of the most powerful things we can use is our stories. Stories get attention on the six o’clock news and seeing a face and a real person behind this to see what is going on just might go a bit further.

So, I am asking for your story. I am looking for Ohioans who will offer up their stories who want to be heard and seen. I want to give you a platform and some help writing up your story to post here. The reason I think this might help is because it does a few things. First, we can make headlines and articles to share across social media that can help bring more attention to these problems we are all going through. Second, I think it could be validating to vent and express yourselves and be heard and not just to just continue suffering alone in silence. This gives us a chance to pull together and work together despite not being able to meet face to face because of COVID. We can stay in and keep our social distance while pulling together across this big state where many of us might live up to 4 or 5 hours away from each other and are impacted by the same state policies.

We have a technology that is amazing with the internet that can help us reach out in ways we never could before. Let’s use that to our advantage. Let’s do more with it. If we all help share these stories and try to get them out there. It is my hope that some of the stories will grab the attention of newspapers or channels in our state and hopefully help draw more attention to the problems in the system. This system is failing us and while that remains abstract it is less likely to be fixed with urgency. If we show the state, the nation and the world what is going on in our state we can hopefully create a situation where this is handled with more urgency. We can pull together to fix these problems. We can rally more to our cause. Let’s make it happen, for ourselves and our fellow unemployed workers.

I have set up an email account you can contact me with through at unemployedohioans@gmail.com or you can leave a comment below to contact me. Please send contact information as well. A phone number would be great so we can talk a bit as I try to put these posts together, but most importantly your email address. Please send a write up highlighting what you are going through and suffering right now. I will likely have a lot of questions to fill in the story. Also, I cannot express this enough, pictures. We want to see pictures of you and your families, homes or whatever images that can be seen by others in our state. That gives us a better glimpse into your life and who you are and how you are struggling. I cannot promise to be able to do every story for every person who contacts me, I’m only one person working with limited time. I can try to do my best to get as many as possible out there with my given time.

We are stronger together. We can do more if we pull together and help each other out.

17 thoughts on “Unemployed Workers Let Your Voice Be Heard

  1. I am open to The suggestions you’ve made here and I thank you so much for bringing recognition to the problems we are having here dealing with Ohio’s unemployment system it has failed us And I totally agree something needs to be done it’s not fair that we work all our lives and then the system is not there for us when we need it most And it’s even harder that many of us rely on PUA which is the bare minimum . I got stuck was getting the bare minimum because after I went on disability due to spine issues and spine surgeries multiple I still needed to supplement my income somehow so I decided to work part-time helping students as a para professional. And because of the limited hours a week that school is in session and the fact that I have only been in this field since 2018 my W-2 wages were lower in the end up only qualifying for a minimum amount of PUA assistance. And the fact that O DJ FS manage to screw that up by miscalculating my initial payment of $490 and then later on coming back to me telling me that they had overpaid me and that I was supposed to be getting $189 and so they started taking $94.50 which is half of $189 leaving me with $94.50 to survive on for weeks I filed an appeal immediately like I was told
    in June of last year!! Odjfs has yet to respond to any email which I have sent multiple they haven’t returned any phone calls which I’ve left several messages with reps that answer the phone that I need a call back a response to this appeal that was filed over 6 months ago still have not to this date
    been able to speak with anyone there to fix my overpayment. I’ve been reading everywhere how if it was not our fault the states are allowed to override this overpayment I’ve heard other states talk of doing this for their citizens Ohio hasn’t breathed a word of it they don’t even mention it when you call in. that’s half of the problem right there the federal money is supposed to be passed out the bill was signed in December I felt like they are making every excuse under the sun then to get this much needed money to us and I feel like the federal agencies need to look into what Ohio is actually doing with this money that was given to them last month.

    1. I do hope DeWine and Kim Henderson realize the people are eventually gonna be in front of there homes with signs!!!!
      Where’s my Money!
      Corrupt Trash politicians!
      Imagine there life after the truth comes out Mike and Fran and Kim
      as well won’t be able to show face in ohio…

  2. This is so sad that we are going through this. I have worked my whole life, I have never used unemployment. When the pandemic first started my job had to shut down, a job I loved , a job I’ve been at for 4 years. I was told by my employer to start a claim for unemployment. After weeks of waiting I was told I was denied unemployment. I was $1.00 short of what I was supposed to make to receive unemployment. I was told to wait for the Pua unemployment to start. I went months without anything. It’s so hard telling your children who’s used to living ok that they cant have the extras they were used to. Well my job opened back up in july, but due to me having lupus and being high risk my doctor told me if I got covid it could possibly kill me so she was keeping me off work. Then I have 3 sons, 2 of my sons are high risk one having asthma and my youngest having alopecia. Then schools closed. My youngest also has learning delays so I have to be with him during his class time to help him because everything is on zoom and with his delays he just cant grasp his new learning environment. In june I was hit with fraud. I sent in all my documents it took roughly 4 weeks to clear that. Then i was sent an email in November saying my payments would stop on December 12 2020 due to the unemployment numbers going down. That was 13 days before Christmas. When the bill was finally signed by President Trump that gave alot of us hope. But now it is January 22 2021 and I have not received anything. I am in alot of groups on facebook and I’m seeing I’m not the only one in this situation. We are not getting any answers from unemployment. There is so many different dates floating around. People are mentally physically and emotionally drained because they simply dont know how they are going to survive another day. I’ve read stories from parents in the same boat that have to go without to be able to feed their kids. People tell us on a daily ” just get a job ” without even knowing our situation. I wish I could go back to work back to normal , but that’s impossible right now.

  3. I work within the OSU Stadium, and The Schottenstein’s Arena, as a chef, cooking for the events. We all know that due to Covid restrictions, there are no events until the future. So, I am out of work until they open again. I have never been on unemployment, and this is a company I have trusted and loved working for. They even have retirement programs, great healthcare, the works. It is not feasible to find a lower paying job, with most jobs here not even being full time due to the pandemic. I have relied on unemployment since last March. I have stopped receiving it, and have been denied without explanation since early December. I have been calling literally every single day since December 10th, to no avail. I have yet to talk to a person, literally all I do is call this place. The automated number says to call back another time. When is that time? It is now January 22nd!! No income, and it says approved, yet my weekly claims are denied. It requests me to call the office, forcing me into this big loop for over a month now!! I really need someone to look at my case…

  4. Currently a Peuc receiptent of regular unemployment. My last claim was 12.26.20. I am able to make weekly claims but they are showing denied currently at 3 denied. On 1.24.21 I will be making my 4th claim; I’m sure this to will be denied.

    I have not been given any response from ODJFS and I was told by a representative just to continue making claims.

    I am struggling and after 4 weeks of non payment I just can’t continue to do nothing. We deserve a response from our elected officials as to what exactly is going on and what we are to officially do to get payment even if they can cut us a check just to get us some help. Something at this point would be better than nothing.

    My number:. 937.469.9186

  5. My husband is on pua. He missed the criteria for reg ui by less then a dollar. He gets the minimum 189 per week. I think his payment amt is wrong, however, after hrs and weeks of calling to no avail, we decided a Snowball beats no ball at all, and started getting pua in April. Mid summer, all of a sudden his acct was flagged for fraud and payments stopped. After hrs n hrs spent on the phone trying to understand why he was flagged, we got no real answers other then, “we need u to send in all documents again to prove your identity for u n your wife. ” So we gathered all necessary documents including w2’s from 2019,uploaded everything.. Again.. and proceeded to wait on their decision to finally continue benefits. (With back pay of course. They’re favorite thing to say, “don’t worry all weeks are retroactive. ” Like it makes up for income stopping for 3 weeks while they vet him for the 2nd time. Now here we are again, no payment since Dec15. Pua ended on Dec27 n new bill wasn’t signed until after the fact. Was finally able to start filing again after they got that far with their so called updates. On any given day n phone call, there was different stories told by every single phone rep. Was even hung up on twice in one day for trying to ask specific case questions. A general consensus was finally reached that we would start seeing payments by Jan26 (with retro payments from Dec27 of course.) 2 days ago they updated their website stating that the additional 11 weeks mandated from govt for pua now has an estimated production date of FEB26. Reason? Because of all the fraudulent claims n they have to get folks AGAIN. In my husbands case, for the 3rd time. So, now we wait, oh so broke after no pay since mid December n probably a total of 8 weeks before he sees another payment.

  6. I did not write this, and I do not want to name the author. however, this hit home for many of us on the Facebook page it was posted on. this is how many of us feel & what 1,000s of Ohio citizens are dealing with while the public servants we pay and elected to serve us put us on the back burner!!

    They’re just adding to people’s stress, sense of hopelessness, and increase in mental health issues and breakdowns (something I’m personally struggling with right now as we fall further and further back from where we had gotten). Depression, anxiety, insomnia all made worse by the fact that we have to make money daily, or we’re on the street, we have to look for jobs, or we get no help, we aren’t homeless enough for someone to help us with our room but we’d get help if we gave up every advance we’ve fought so hard for and went to the shelter where without kids (they’re grown) it’s likely to take us years to get into a place, or we take another organizations advice and literally sleep outside for three months straight to prove we’re homeless no hotels at all. We don’t have a real home so we aren’t afforded any of the help (such as not being able to get kicked out) as those people do. We are in between the lost and forgotten by society altogether because we do everything possible to do it ourselves before asking for help….. I’ve seen such an increase in drug use in the in between world it’s scary. People are afraid every day that tomorrow they’ll be back to where they fought tooth and nail to get out of. We get trapped here, cause it really is either hit the streets, or put every penny you get into keeping a roof over your head. Even the smallest of setbacks can be cataclysmic here. With $5 being the difference between being out in the cold or warm and safe. Jobs are not as easy to find as people seem to think, especially when you just can’t spare that few dollars for the bus. Job and family doesn’t care either, they told me flat out, you can get on the bus and come down and apply for a bus pass or we won’t supply one. They’ll cut off your food assistance because you didn’t receive mail when you can’t get it where you’re at, put things in the mail regardless of the fact that you told them you prefer electronic communication because even a shut off cell phone gets wi fi. You get turned down for the jobs everyone keeps telling you that you need to get, either because of your record, or you couldn’t dress as nicely as the other applicants. So you start taking whatever work you can get close by. You end up working for shitty employers that want to overwork you, and pay less than minimum wage because they know they can get away with it because without them you have nothing coming in. When your savings is gone, you haven’t found a job yet, not one that you can keep anyways, you find you have two options and both involve hitting a corner, only one of which is still legal in a lot of places, getting pretty immune to the humiliation involved in flying a sign pretty quick. Surprised by people’s kindness sometimes too. You start to feel like you’re invisible for the most part, somehow less than everyone else because that’s the way they look at you as they drive by, if they deign to let on they noticed you at all that is. Sorry guys I forget why I even started this comment now that I think about it…. Oh yeah suicide, mental health issues, stress. I understand the thought process behind those who choose suicide, I may not be exactly wired in a way in which I agree with it but I get it, Trust me I KNOW I’m living it

  7. Thank for recognizing those of us who are still suffering! 5 weeks no pay because obviously those of us who exhausted our 39 weeks are all frauds! The worst part about them constantly blaming “battling fraud” is back in July 90% of us already were ACCUSED of fraud and had to send in everything but our first born children and a DNA swab to be cleared! I was paid quicker back then than now. By the time they supposedly implement the system with the 11 week extension the program will be expired or nearly expired. Why are we the only americans going through this?! If the can implement the extension by 1.31 for those who exhausted PEUC extensions how can it be that hard to get those of us who were the first to start receiving payments back in may up to current payments with everyone else? There’s no way. I’ve heard excuses such as a huge “backlog” that’s creating more issues than anticipated. The fraud is coming from within the company because they hire anyone and everyone to work from home. My business is completely diminished. I just got started in mid 2019 and now it’s done. I have filled out numerous applications just to never receive call backs or emails, nothing. I even contracted covid-19 while job searching because how can I possibly survive another month with no money?! This is a nightmare and is contributing to deteriorating mental health in a LOT of ohioans!

  8. I am also in the same position. I havent received a payment since December 12, 2020. I have been vetted by them twice. Flagged for fraud I overwhelmed them with identity documents as well as documents to support my claim. I was lucky they only held me back for a week while they reviewed my documents. I currently have $200 left in my checking account. I cannot pay my credit card bills or rent for February at this point. My credit score will suffer. I have dedicated my days to job searching. I was laid off from the hotel I worked for for 8 years last March. I have tried to apply for jobs out of my field but no luck. The law passed was signed on December 27, 2021. It is an extension I do not believe their claim that they are having programming issues with their computers. They were able to slap an extra 7 weeks to everyones claim last September easy enough (though it was never paid out due to unemployment numbers in Ohio going down). The people hit most from this pandemic are also the lowest income workers also. This is par for the course in Ohio. New York State was able to do 2 things at once and they started paying the extension very quickly and with not nearly as much fraud. There should be consequences for the person that oversaw the program while all the fraud was taking place. Instead the people who are desperate for their claims to be paid are the ones paying the price for their incompetence.

  9. I am in the same sinking boat as most. I’m a independent artist and haven’t been paid since mid December. First PUA gives me a huge overpayment, stating that they didn’t calculate my earnings correctly when I sent in everything they asked for, then they said they would take a look at my account and received a redetermination OF THE SAME AMOUNT! They used the wrong figures again so I appealed in September…..crickets. In December I received the same letter as most with7 weeks, except they claim “I refused work” ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? I’ve been waiting for a year for the state to open and artist can have their shows that were canceled. I NEVER REFUSED WORK. So for the state to use THE SAME COMPANY (Deloitte) to do these updates is inexcusable! THE SAME COMPANY THAT WAS HACKED! We need our money. We can’t help that there are scammers in Ohio….we shouldn’t be punished for it.

  10. Been off work due to multiple covid testing, quarantine and surgery. This will be the THIRD surgery coming up soon since June 5, 2020. Before the surgery my 4 daughters were out of school like the rest of the world. I filed for unemployment AFTER the system being locked where I couldn’t even file for OVER 2 MONTHS. After spending HOURS AND HOURS FINALLY reaching a guy that said yeah I’ll unlock it and have someone call you to backdate ASAP. Lady called back dated it payment released. Then as soon as I received that backpay it stopped again. This time for over 12 WEEKS. Finally got that to go through and low and behold it stops again. I want to work but right now my daughters health issues have me continues to have with no end in site it feels like. I am a single mom of 4. After all that I received a letter stating unemployment was to low now to let me have any extensions and they were basically voiding it and I’m disqualified. Others have received an email telling them to start applying I haven’t. I was able to claim until the 10th and be paid so they allowed 2 payments to go through. I’ve provided every pay stubs, tax forum, I’d etc. my quarantines excuses. Etc. All while I’m fighting for my unemployment when I did work my oldest daughters biological father never paid a penny to child support to his other 3 kids or mine was receiving weekly unemployment. I reported it SEVERAL times . I know he didn’t work, never has a day in his life but he sent me $20 payments that were directly taken from his unemployment while my kids and I struggled to pay bills. They allowed this to go on and on. No one stopped it, it didn’t stop till the old relief package stopped. I understand the fraud is real but people are literally starving and dying and there is NOTHING FRAUD ABOUT THAT. During this whole process I reached out to governor, every state legislator and senator , attorney general, the list goes on. I actually sat with the guy at my local Jfs Ohio means jobs and he called with me and was mind blown the answers they were given. They kept saying they , they this and they that. Who is they and how do I reach them. No answers were given. If you call keep your fingers crossed you dont reach someone like I have this whole time because all but maybe 2 DIDNT do anything but less stuff up more. It left me afraid to call on to try to fix anything because I’m afraid they will change info and make me go through hell and high water to change it. The horror stories I’ve heard from the reps they spoke to, telling them well means you have to get a job . The last I spoke with said that even though the new bill passed I couldn’t receive anything else because they extension only applied to people who have not ever been on the extension and her boss just told her that this morning and she knows it’s dirty and don’t know why they would screw people over like they have. I hung up called back reached someone else he tells me just wait for the system update and continue to file, it’s coming soon. After they are done with the fraud claims they need to go through and listen to some of these recordings of how all of us were spoke to and treated like a bum waiting for a hand out. The amount of anxiety, depression, anger, fear, and the list goes on. I know all to well the feeling the gentlemen of hopelessness because I was right there.

  11. I just filed my 4th week as of this past Sunday and all 4 weeks have been denied. Currently Im on PEUC per what I have been told and was given a date of Jan 31st but that is a Sunday. Hopefully on Monday Feb 1st I will get all my back pay and my current week. Ive pretty much given up on calling customer service unless I have no other choice. Ive worked customer service for over 15 years and unemployment customer service is horrible. I have 2 younger sisters who were getting PUA and they both are still waiting for payments also. Unfortunately PUA has to wait until the middle of Feb to get any kind of money.
    This is past being ridiculous

  12. It’s now more than just back pay and getting it to run/pay. People have lost everything dear to them as well. Not just homes and cars. We lost items that we have owned for years because we had to sell them in order to survive. “Example”
    I, back in the 80’s raced BMX bikes and had to sell the two 40 year old BMX bikes I raced on and have had for 40 years at a huge loss. (Hutch pro Racer todays estimated vale in the $3200 range, sold for $400 because I dont have the time to simply wait for the going price (I need to eat), My Race Inc. BMX Bike too) Bikes that are irreplaceable today.
    I am a gig worker (Photography) I had to sell all my cameras. I lost my dignity when the state of Ohio ended the PUA days before X-Mas without notice, claiming the rate dropped from 5.7 to 5.5 or something. I lost my dignity when my auto insurance canceled.
    After 6 weeks, going on 7 weeks without a payment at all, I can’t even afford fuel to look for work. I can’t even afford to do online applications in fear if I get called in for an interview I simply don’t have insurance let alone gas. (I live in a small city 30 miles away from the where the work is). But Ohio is saying we have to look for work, that’s kind of hard when you don’t have money. I simply don’t have auto insurance or gas. I had to move into my fathers home, a failure.
    I think Ohio owes us more than just the back pay, I think they owe us for the loss we are all suffering watching every thing we worked hard for over the years disappear all with-in a years time. They owe us for the mental strain (Anguish) this has placed on us as well. Lets not even start on the people who have children, lost homes, and cars. “My insurance quote is now 200 bucks higher now that it canceled”. This is deeper than just getting our back pay, what about the stuff we lost, ruined credit, dignity?

  13. I understand there is a ridiculous amount of fraudulent claims being filed BUT I am not one of those, yet I received an overpayment notice that says denied/non-fraud. Therefore I filed my appeal on 12/7/20, which was received by UI/ODJFS and they notified me it was received and that letter was dated 12/14/20. With my appeal I attached the letter from my employer that states effective 9/30/20 I am no longer on a temporary layoff, as of this date I am now on an extended layoff due to COVID. I have called and confirmed that the letter is attached to my appeal and I have been told I just need to be patient and wait for the determination. I continue to file every week and I have not received any unemployment benefits since November 30,2020. I did receive an email from them that states my elected official brought my case to their attention and to please check my correspondence regularly as they will be working my paperwork. This was after I emailed Governor Dewine and the Attorney General. I still have not heard anything back about my appeal and when I do get a hold of someone, although they have been very nice and helpful as they can be, it’s still the same thing, be patient and wait for your determination from the appeal. That’s all well and good except when you rely on that money to pay your bills and buy groceries. I do understand they are bombarded and the false claims are making it worse for everyone BUT not everyone is a thief and those of us with the paperwork we need from our employer and who have filed their appeal in the allowed 21 days you have to do so, should be the ones having their appeals processed. Someone committing identity fraud is probably NOT going to take the time to file an appeal and continue to follow up on it. So Please process Our appeals, we are drowning out here without our income!!!

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