COLUMBUS, Ohio — Central Ohio residents are having an unusually difficult time getting their unemployment money, putting a strain on their pocketbooks and adding stress on top of job searching.
Reynoldsburg resident Ryan Evans said he was laid off from his software development job in May and spends his time each week interviewing or searching for jobs.
However, a major hurdle that’s taking a lot of his time right now is a halt in unemployment money and a lack of response from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
"It’s stressful. Not just trying to find a job, but I have to now like, go through all these hoops just to like, maybe get a hold of someone to file a claim. Like, I don't have that kind of time,” said Evans.
He said he hasn’t received his unemployment money for three weeks and has left multiple messages every day trying to find the solution.
"They need to be available then. And so this has been going on for a week. So the fact that, like I said, in my opinion, clearly something's going wrong there,” said Evans.
Evans says he was finally able to reach a representative in the last few days, but he is still concerned that he may never receive his unemployment money.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said the high volume of calls is caused by scammers.
No one at ODJFS was available for an interview, but the agency shared the following statement:
“We are seeing unusually long wait times as it relates to people calling into our unemployment line. Over the past two weeks, Ohio experienced an increased number of attempts to fraudulently access its unemployment system. We have identified and addressed the issue, which involves criminals accessing an individual’s account using fake credentials. As part of our anti-fraud measures, impacted individuals were notified of suspicious activity in their account, and their account was locked down. This has resulted in high call volume with the unemployment contact center and long wait times as we help individuals get back into their accounts.
Anyone receiving the message regarding unusual account activity and is unable to get into their online account should contact (866)576-0006 to regain access. Additionally, go to unemployment.ohio.gov to report the incident.”