Benefits are still on hold for thousands of Ohioans as the state continues its fraud investigation.
Ohio Department of Job and Family services is also working to setup the new program to get funds to pay unemployed Ohioans an additional $300 a week.
But policy analysts say that the $300 isn't enough and it may not come quickly enough to help.
Director Kimberly Hall said last week that Ohio will apply for funds to pay the Lost Wages Assistance Program ordered by President Trump.
But the state can't afford to boost the benefit by 100 dollars. And, because it's a part of the disaster relief program from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and not the Department of Labor, extra steps are required to get that money to Ohioans.
“The state does not have that revenue to allot that additional $100, but we will certainly keep our eye on that, says Hall. “But, right now we are moving forward with applying to draw down funds that will enable the payment of $300 per week.”
Policy experts say those benefits are helping to keep the economy going.
"What did we learn out of the last recession,” asks Zach Schiller, Research Director for Policy Matters Ohio.
“We learned when we withdrew assistance too soon, when we did not provide this kind of support, the economy did not improve as it should. And, it lead to extremely long lasting unemployment, where we had the highest levels of long term unemployment since we've had since world war II and it lead to a weak economy. So, all of us benefit from this."
Schiller says wants congress to consider reinstating the full $600 dollars, and quickly, to avoid economic fallout.
“I think what we really should be looking for is congress going back and approving further extension of the $600 payment,” says Schiller. “And, that would be far better for the economy, the workers and even our unemployment insurance system, which is being taxed beyond believe. Which is really something, you know to do it this way it's not good policy.”
Thousands of Ohioans who remain unemployed are also waiting for ODJFS to clear their accounts after a fraud investigation.
More than 270,000 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance accounts were frozen, and so far only approximately 59,000 have been released.
Director Hall says the process to review each fraud claim is individual. ODJFS reports as of last week, there were around 14,000 Ohioans who submitted documents for review.
“It is a claim by claim, I've often made the analogy of an unemployment claim to an insurance claim,” says Hall. “Where you need your claims examiner who works through and verifies the claim, it's a very similar process.”
ODJFS expects to apply for those “Lost Wages” funds as soon as possible, but say implementing the system could take a few weeks.
Hall says the department has added staff to help with the fraud review, but there are delays processing those as well. And delays with fraud processing, are spilling over into processing for new claims.