While the bill remains in limbo, $600 direct payments for qualifying adults and $600 for each dependent and child are on hold. Trump has urged Congress to raise those payments to $2,000.
A spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said the state is declining to comment at length on the federal relief bill until Trump signs it and the U.S. Department of Labor interprets its provisions for states.
“We are closely examining the legislation Congress enacted extending the pandemic unemployment programs and benefits created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act,” said Tom Betti, an ODJFS spokesman. “As soon as we receive guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on some of the details, we will implement the new provisions as quickly as possible so we can assist those in need.”
ODJFS “system programming” will be needed to implement any new benefits, Betti added. “We ask for everyone’s patience as we undertake that effort. Ohio stands ready assist those in need as quickly as we can.”
The way to attain or regain benefits that have expired isn’t clear.
More than 22 million American jobs were lost in the spring as the COVID-19 pandemic was first keenly felt domestically. About 12 million of those jobs have been recovered through last month, but unemployment remains quite high nationally and statewide.
A Brookings Institution report this month found that some 10 million workers will lose unemployment compensation on Dec. 26.
Ohioans filed just over 274,000 claims for jobless benefits last week. Over the past 40 weeks, the state has paid out more than $7.6 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 875,000 residents, according to numbers from the state.
Meanwhile, the global pandemic remains an ongoing concern. According to the latest numbers offered Sunday by the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio has seen 605,214 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 5,857 of those cases counted as new, the lowest number of new cases since Dec. 16.
The state also reported 33 deaths and 273 hospitalizations Sunday, bringing the total number of dead to 8,509 and total hospitalizations to 36,786.
“It’s nine months into this,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday on the Face the Nation program. “People are tired of it, so I get it. And we’ve asked people to make sacrifices. But my message to the people of Ohio continues to be, we should do everything we can to save lives, and hope is there. The vaccine is here.”
He added: “This is not the time to pull back. This is not the time to give up. We also have to try to work that balance because we know with a complete shutdown, we know there’s downsides to that as well.”