, the sudden burst of unemployment claims with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has brought the system to its knees. Calls are going unanswered, and worse, the online claim system that the state encourages claimants to use has been brought down by the onslaught.
A spokesman for the department told a CD reporter that in the last month daily call loads have jumped from 7,500 to 80,000. One claimant says she was on hold for 5 1/2 hours on Monday and another 3 hours yesterday before finally getting through. While the state is busily hiring temporary workers to handle the overload (isn't that ironic? I bet they didn't have to look far to find willing applicants), there is no guarantee that the unemployed will receive their money on time. Ohio, like many other states, will soon exhaust its unemployment fund and be forced to turn to the feds for a loan to continue paying benefits.
Ohio is not alone in fund shortfalls. Those of Missouri, Indiana, and New Jersey, among others, are also in dire need of replenishment, and the states are looking to the new Obama adminstration for a handout, not a hand.