(WKBN) – The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is taking steps to keep up with the demand of those applying for unemployment compensation benefits.

During the last two weeks, ODJFS had more than 470,000 new claims filed (compared to 7,000 claims filed during the second week of March). 

ODJFS also anticipates an additional surge as 1099 and self-employed individuals will soon be able to apply for benefits as a result of the federal CARES legislation enacted last week.

ODJFS is working to increase the capacity of both its website and phone lines. The online system, previously configured for a typical maximum of 1,200 connections at one time, has now been enhanced to accommodate up to 24,000 simultaneous connections. 

In addition, more than 300 employees have been reassigned to assist with call volume on the toll-free line. 

If you need to file an unemployment claim, go to unemployment.ohio.gov.  A step-by-step guide to filing your unemployment claim is available in the upper right-hand corner of the page. 

ODJFS asks that people file claims during non-core business hours, if possible.