Coronavirus: Here’s how workers can apply for unemployment benefits

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More than 76,000 people in the Dayton metro area work in leisure and hospitality and retail, which are industries that could be severely impacted by the unprecedented efforts to restrain the spread of the coronavirus.

Thousands of people, or maybe many more, could end up out of work for some time.

But on Sunday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced he would expand unemployment benefits to workers whose employers closed or who were in mandatory quarantine for suspected infection.

Montgomery County’s Jobs Center is continuing to offer the public use of its computers to fill out online applications for unemployment benefits.

Many public places that offer internet services have closed, including libraries and community centers.

Citizens who cannot work because of the pandemic will not be subject to normal requirements for receiving unemployment, such as having to actively seek work while receiving payments, according to Montgomery County Job & Family Services. Workers who do not have paid leave at their job will be eligible for benefits.

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There is usually a one-week waiting period built into the application process, but that also is being waived.

“We want to be sure everyone has the ability to apply for these benefits,” said Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge in a statement. “This emergency is going to affect many people, and we’re focused on serving people in this time of need.”

Citizens who have lost work because of the COVID-19 emergency can apply online for benefits at http://unemployment.ohio.gov or call 1-877-644-6562 (TTY available at 1-614-387-8408).

Montgomery County’s Job Center is at 1111 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd.

Officials say the computers will be disinfected regularly and some computer stations will be blocked off to try to prevent close contact between visitors.

Initial unemployment claims in the state were down 0.4% in the week that ended March 7, according to state data. However, claims were up nearly 83% to 9,910 the week prior, ending on Feb. 29.

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