Ohio wants the newly unemployed to file for benefits alphabetically

Laura Hancock / cleveland.com
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Laura Hancock / cleveland.com

It’s hoped the new regimen will ease a strained benefits system.

A strained Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is asking Ohioans to file for unemployment benefits alphabetically, with the first letter of surnames corresponding to certain week days.

“In an effort to streamline claims processing and expedite payments, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) is implementing a new weekly claim filing process for Ohioans who have been approved to receive unemployment benefits,” the department said Tuesday.

Starting this Sunday, individuals filing weekly claims should do so on certain days, based on the first letter of their last name.

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Beginning Sunday, those with names starting with “A” through “H” may apply for benefits, the state said.

Then, Monday: “I” through “P.” And Tuesday: “Q” through “Z.”

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For Wednesday through Saturday, all jobless residents may apply, the state said.

To ensure faster processing, claimants also should set their correspondence preference to “electronic,” as opposed to U.S. mail, ODJFS also advised.

The Ohio unemployment benefits web site has been experiencing technical difficulties. In March, the state’s unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent, up from 4.1 percent in February.

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“The new process will help relieve pressure on our system so that claims can be filed more easily and paid more quickly,” Kimberly Hall, ODJFS director, said in a release. “Once a claim is processed, payment can be made by direct deposit within three business days.”

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Ohioans are encouraged to apply online at unemployment.ohio.gov.

Those without internet access or who need assistance can file by phone at (877) OHIO-JOB (1-877-644-6562) or TTY at (888) 642-8203, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays.

First-time applicants should be prepared to provide their name and Social Security number as listed on their Social Security card and, if they are unemployed as a result of COVID-19, the mass-layoff number 2000180.\

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