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ODJFS employee under investigation for freezing family member's PUA payments after dispute

Investigators also found that the employee had accessed her own unemployment claim four times during her employment with ODJFS without a legitimate business purpose.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An employee with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is accused of stopping a family member's unemployment payments after an argument. 

The agency issued a complaint to the Ohio Inspector General's office in June, alleging that a customer service representative had improperly accessed the family member's pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) claim several times without authorization and discontinued their approved benefits. 

Investigators said the family members, who started receiving PUA payments last year, had a personal dispute with the employee in May. 

After reviewing evidence of text messages and social media posts, investigators determined that the employee accessed the relative’s claim 10 times before locking the claim and discontinuing her benefits on May 14.

Investigators also found that the employee had accessed her own unemployment claim four times during her employment with ODJFS without a legitimate business purpose, contrary to department policy. 

The case has been referred to the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Columbus City Attorney’s Office, and the Ohio Ethics Commission for consideration.

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