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‘My family is in a dilemma’: Ohioans wait for judge to rule on $300 weekly unemployment extension

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One central Ohio father of seven said his rent is starting to get behind and he’s struggling to find a job as a diesel mechanic.

A ruling to extend the weekly federal unemployment benefit extension of $300 a week in Ohio could come as early as Wednesday or Thursday from Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Michael J. Holbrook.

However, those who filed legal briefs on behalf of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who want the extension to end, have said they will appeal if the ruling is not in their favor.

That would send the case to the 10th District Court of Appeals and after that, it could go to the Ohio Supreme Court. Bottom line – the judge’s ruling won’t bring instant relief for people like Matthew Thompson.

“My family is in a dilemma right now, and I don’t know what to do,” Thompson said.

Thompson is the father of seven children between the ages of 14 months and 13 years old.

“My rent is starting to get behind and there is absolutely nothing I can do,” he said.

Making matters worse, he said, is that the state owes him $2,000 in unemployment that he was told was delayed because of issues with the unemployment system.

“I can’t get the state benefit so the federal benefit would be a blessing for us,” he said.

Thompson is a former diesel mechanic and said when he’s applied for work he finds “100 other applying for the same job.”

He said he filed for a child tax credit but was given credit for three out of his seven children.

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Meanwhile, employers across the state said they are struggling to find workers.

The state argues removing the $300 weekly benefit would be an incentive for people to return to work.

“One of the reasons we think that the workforce hasn’t returned is because the $300 benefit is if you earn less than $41,000 a year, you will earn more in one week collecting unemployment than you would in a paycheck,” said Kevin Shimp, Ohio Chamber of Commerce Director  Labor and Legal Affairs.

Judges in Indiana and Maryland have ruled that those two states must restart pandemic jobless benefits that had been halted until lawsuits over the issue are resolved. That means more than 500,000 out-of-work adults in those states should see a resumption of their jobless benefits, according to an estimate from the National Employment Law Project (NELP).

In the 26 states that are ending enhanced federal unemployment before it is due to expire in early September, governors blamed the benefits for keeping people from seeking work. All but one of the governors are Republicans.

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