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ODJFS has to fix system on theft

Ohioans who have found themselves trying to wade through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program may find some improvements after a weekend upgrade and another fix on the way. The state Department of Job and Family Services says Sunday it put in place an additional 11 weeks of PEUC, which will mean more than 95,000 people are now eligible to receive the benefits.

Those folks had been in limbo after exhausting their maximum 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits Dec. 26.

Meanwhile, ODJFS is also working on a fix that should be in place by the end of the week, that will allow those who are new to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to apply, claim weeks and receive benefits. It will also mean more than 155,000 claimants who had balances in their accounts of up to seven weeks will now be paid, if there are no other issues holding up their claims.

This is all good news, and certainly welcome to the hundreds of thousands of Buckeye State residents still trying to keep their heads above water as COVID-19 refuses to let up. But it begs the question: Given the magnitude of security issues and fraud that has already bedeviled ODJFS, are these updates and fixes going to include improved protection for taxpayer dollars or open the door to more theft?

ODJFS officials have their hands full, there is no doubt. Among the tasks on their plates must be the most stringent efforts possible to safeguard our money.

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