(WKBN) – Weekend system upgrades by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) were required by new federal mandates. The upgrades have made federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance available again to 134,000 Ohioans.
These Ohioans have been waiting to receive such benefits since the program expired on December 26.
The upgrades will also allow for Ohioans to submit new PUA applications.
“Time has been of the essence as we worked to implement the programming necessary to provide these benefits,” said ODJFS Director Kimberly Henderson. “Those eligible will receive all benefits they are entitled to, in addition to the new weekly $300 supplemental payments available to all unemployment insurance beneficiaries through recent federal legislation.”
The PUA program supports business owners, the self-employed, independent contractors and others who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment benefits.
It was originally created by the federal CARES Act in March 2020 in response to the pandemic.
The federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, signed on December 27, extended and amended the program but with new program integrity requirements and complexities that are taking all states time to implement.
The new legislation provides up to an additional 11 weeks of PUA, or 50 weeks total, for eligible individuals.
The weekend system allows claimants to receive benefits for a portion of those 11 extended weeks.
The affected individuals have been notified and can now log into their accounts, file claims and receive payments for which they are eligible.
Payment amounts will vary by individual.