Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. (LAWO) is a non-profit regional law firm that provide high quality legal assistance in civil matters to help eligible low-income individuals and groups in western Ohio achieve self reliance, and equal justice and economic opportunity.
Rashanda*, a Dayton native and recent college graduate, was employed at Amazon when the pandemic unexpectedly changed her hectic work schedule. Having to decide whether to continue working or risk unsafe COVID-19 conditions, Rashanda prioritized her health and made the difficult decision to leave her employment.
Rashanda later applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and after a tiresome back and forth plea with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance officials, was approved for pandemic unemployment benefits in the amount of $189 weekly. Unfortunately, after nearly five months of receiving benefits, Rashanda’s claim was erroneously flagged for fraud because she lived with her sister who was also receiving unemployment benefits. At this point, she reached out to us here at LAWO for help.
In just seven days we were able to help Rashanda clear her pending fraud issue. By the following week, she was again receiving her weekly benefits and also received retroactive benefits for the five weeks of missed payments.
*This client’s name was changed to protect her privacy.
In Ohio, numerous PUA claimants have erroneously had their cases flagged for fraud and have been asked to provide additional proof of identification. Many claimants have difficulty uploading identity verification documents into the online unemployment system. Even claimants who are able to comply with this request have difficulty restoring their benefits.