TOLEDO, Ohio — From the many questions WTOL 11 viewers received about the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most asked was about filing for unemployment.
The influx of workers applying for benefits due to the coronavirus pandemic comes as the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website crashed multiple times Monday.
The agency posted an apology on its Facebook page, saying they are dealing with a record number of applications for unemployment benefits. According to the post, nearly 200,000 people have filed applications since the program was announced.
The state administration addressed the unprecedented numbers during the latest press conference about the pandemic on Monday.
"This system was not built for a crisis it was built to take care of what we could expect on a regular or robust basis but what we are experiencing now is unprecedented," Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said.
Additionally, a statement from JFS says what people are doing is still the best way, even though it comes with frustrations.
"Despite the intermittent issues with the online claims system today, going to unemployment.ohio.gov remains the best way for Ohioans to file a claim," the statement read.
Natalie Bostelman is just one of those people experiencing issues, and that was exactly what she kept trying.
"I would say it's been a little over 24 hours now. Not that I expected it to be instantaneous, but I didn't expect it to be that long of a slog. When you look at the Facebook page they tell you, definitely use the website than calling it will be faster, but that wasn't the case," Bostelmad said.
That makes it all the more challenging for Ohioans without internet access, which caused a couple in northwest Ohio to say, "We got up this morning and drove into town to our daughter-in-law's house to use the WiFi there to file. We still couldn't access the page."
Still, they haven't been successful.
JFS says they have hundreds of people working the phones, all while they are still adjusting for the high call volume.
"We also extended the call center's hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays," the statement said.
For Bostelman, she says she's just going to keep patient and keep trying. It's all she can do right now.
"I'm praying and hoping that everyone can apply and be eligible to get their benefits as soon as they can," Bostelman said.