A coalition of health and human service organizations, labor unions, and policy institutes sent
Policy Matters Ohio, the
"Everyone, no matter where they live or what they look like, needs to know that they can keep food on a table and a roof over their head. The COVID-19 crisis has upended the lives of all Ohioans and forcing many employers to lay off people who work for them. That is why our organizations are calling on the DeWine administration to take a few simple steps to help all Ohioans have the basics during this difficult time.
"Over 1.2 million Ohioans have filed unemployment claims since the middle of March. That's more than the last three years combined. Over 90,000 Ohioans are still waiting for Unemployment Compensation (UC), tens of thousands of Ohioans are waiting for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who filed for unemployment have been denied. Many have been out of work for nearly three months and are struggling to put food on the table, pay the rent, and afford the basics to support their families.
Dear Governor DeWine:
Everyone, no matter where they live or what they look like, needs stability and security. The COVID-19 crisis has upended the lives of all Ohioans and slowed down our economy. As we all work together to flatten the COVID-19 curve, we ask you to do everything you can to help stabilize residents' lives who are in crisis now. That is why it's critical that your administration makes sure that everyone who applies for Unemployment Compensation is also aware of other programs that can help them and their families make ends meet.
Ohioans Need Relief. More than 20% of
According to ODJFS, over 1.2 million Ohioans have filed unemployment claims since the middle of March. That's more than the last three years combined. Over 90,000 Ohioans still have claims pending and hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who filed for unemployment have been denied. Over 161,000 Ohioans have applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which extends Unemployment Compensation (UC) to people who are paid low-wage or who are self-employed. Tens of thousands of Ohioans are still waiting for PUA support. These Ohioans have lost their jobs and their income. Many have been out of work for nearly three months and are struggling to put food on the table, pay the rent, and afford the basics to support their families.
Yet, many of these Ohioans are unaware of existing public programs that would provide much needed support until their first UC check arrives. SNAP, Medicaid, Ohio Works First (OWF), Prevention, Retention, and Contingency (PRC), and Publicly Funded Child Care exist to help struggling Ohioans pay for food, healthcare, child care, and other basic necessities. We ask that these benefit programs be fully integrated so that those who apply for unemployment are also aware of other programs that provide stability for people and their families. These programs give Ohioans more purchasing power to spend on basic needs which can help stimulate our local economies.
Ohio Can Do More to Help Stabilize Children and Families. Many Ohioans who have been laid off are now eligible for healthcare through Medicaid, food assistance through SNAP, cash assistance through OWF, rent, mortgage and utility assistance through PRC, and support for child care through
The average Ohioan may not realize that they could have to wait several weeks to receive UC benefits. Currently, people are not guided to consider applying for public assistance when they apply for UC benefits. Moreover, when Ohioans are denied regular Unemployment Compensation due to being paid too little or working as an independent contractor, the state of
We ask you and the involved state agencies guide laid-off Ohioans to apply for SNAP, Medicaid, OWF, PRC, and Publicly Funded Child Care. State agencies can do more to ensure Ohioans know about all available public resources.
1. When people apply for unemployment benefits.
2. When people are denied unemployment benefits.
3. When people who have already applied for UC are not yet receiving benefits.
We welcome the opportunity to work with ODJFS to share ideas for how to communicate proactively through the unemployment.ohio.gov online experience, through emails and letters to claimants, and through your social media communications to Ohioans. For example, after applying for UC, claimants could be redirected to a page that says, "You may be eligible for temporary or ongoing food, child care, and healthcare assistance," along with links to appropriate application information. We urge more direct outreach and communication with this information to Ohioans who have lost their income and livelihood.
You Can Make a Real Difference in the Lives of Thousands of Ohioans. We appreciate all your leadership to support Ohioans who have fallen on tough times. ODJFS has distributed over
SNAP benefits will help
Thank you for considering this request. We stand ready to work with you to provide thought leadership on implementation. Feel free to call on any of us if we can be of assistance.
CC'd via email: