U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) spoke about unemployment insurance in Dayton last week.
Credit Lewis Wallace / WYSO
The U.S. Congress is on its way to a budget deal a couple weeks ahead of the January 1, 2014 deadline, but the deal doesn’t include extending emergency unemployment benefits. That means around 40,000 Ohioans could see their payments end this month.
A report out this morning from a conservative think tank says welfare benefits are so generous that they’re keeping recipients from seeking out work. But advocates are blasting that as unfair, incomplete and wrong.
Thousands of Ohio welfare recipients who were overpaid more than 10 years ago are being informed that they will have to repay that money to the state.
The overpayments are not the result of fraud, and most resulted from administrative errors by government workers, The Columbus Dispatch (reported Wednesday. An example would be a welfare recipient who might have reported a change in income to his caseworker that would have reduced the benefit, but that information wasn't logged before the monthly check was mailed, the newspaper reported.
Ohio may have to pay millions in penalties to the federal government because not enough people on welfare are working at a job or trying to get one. The state has been fined for the last three years because less than a quarter of Ohio’s welfare recipients are working, are volunteering as preparation for work or are in job training programs.
The federal government requires half of recipients be enrolled in work participation.
Ben Johnson at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says his agency is confident the situation can be corrected.