Congressman Tim Ryan Urges Governor DeWine to Review the Implementation of Penalty Weeks to Ensure that Unemployed Ohioans Get the Benefits They Deserve | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Congressman Tim Ryan Urges Governor DeWine to Review the Implementation of Penalty Weeks to Ensure that Unemployed Ohioans Get the Benefits They Deserve

May 4, 2020
Press Release

Youngstown, Ohio — Today, Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) urged Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Director of Ohio Department of Job & Family Services, Kimberly Hall to review the implementation policies surrounding the penalty week for those Ohioans filing for unemployment assistance.

Congressman Ryan has received calls from a number of constituents who are facing penalty weeks and a longer than usual appeals process at a time when they need immediate financial assistance. 

“I write to urge you to review the implementation of penalty weeks during this COVID-19 pandemic to ensure individuals are not inadvertently harmed for unintentional mistakes during a time when they need this help the most. I think there must be a balance between protecting the integrity of the system while not harming the very individuals these benefits were designed to help,” wrote Congressman Ryan.

Read the full text of the letter below:

The Honorable Mike DeWine 
Governor 
Riffe Center, 30th Floor 
77 South High Street 
Columbus, OH 43215-6117

Dear Governor DeWine, 

Thank you for your continued leadership during these unprecedented times. I write today to alert you to an issue that I have been hearing about from my constituents regarding penalty weeks for unemployment insurance claimants. 

I understand penalty weeks are designed to protect the system from fraudulent claims. I too, believe it is important to have proper checks in place to discourage individuals from misrepresenting their information. But while I know it is not the intent to assign penalty weeks to individuals for inadvertent or unintentional mistakes, I am hearing from constituents who are experiencing a different situation with the implementation of this policy. 

I have heard from some who made mistakes in previous years and have paid back all the money but are now facing penalty weeks before receiving these new unemployment benefits. And for people wishing to seek an appeal, the influx of unemployment cases has made appealing these penalties an untenable option. An appeals process that takes weeks to resolve is too late. Meanwhile, these individuals are left with no other options at an unprecedented time in our nation’s history. 

And so, while I understand the intent behind this policy, I write to urge you to review the implementation of penalty weeks during this COVID-19 pandemic to ensure individuals are not inadvertently harmed for unintentional mistakes during a time when they need this help the most. I think there must be a balance between protecting the integrity of the system while not harming the very individuals these benefits were designed to help. 

I know you are working tirelessly to help all Ohioans and am again grateful for your leadership. Thank you for your attention to this urgent issue. 

Sincerely,

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