Ohio expands who can receive unemployment benefits during coronavirus pandemic

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CLEVELAND (WJW)--  The State of Ohio has expanded who can receive unemployment benefits and experienced a major spike in claims as tens of thousands of workers are off the job amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many businesses including restaurants, bars, gyms and movie theaters have closed under state order, and some people have been ordered to self-quarantine.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reports it received 29,177 claims for unemployment benefits Tuesday and a total of 77,817 claims over the last three days. That’s up 2,678 percent from the same period a week earlier, when 2,905 claims were filed.

Under an order from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, benefits have been extended to workers without paid leave benefits who are quarantined by a health care provider or employer, even if they have not tested positive for COVID-19.

The state has also extended benefits to workers whose employers have temporarily shut down.  Ohio is waiving the 1-week delay for benefits to expedite the process.

Those affected are exempt from requirements to actively seek work.

“This will assist Ohio workers directly impacted by the COVID-19 health emergency,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said during a Sunday press conference.

The mass layoff number 2000180 has been assigned for use by those affected. Applications can be filed online at unemployment.ohio.gov or by phone at 877-OHIO-JOB (1-877-644-6562).

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