Ohio Supreme Court weighs end of $300 weekly unemployment payment

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS - Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — In June 2021, Gov. Mike DeWine ended Ohio’s participation in a federal pandemic unemployment aid program ahead of a government deadline for stopping the payments.

Attorneys for the Republican governor argue he had the legal authority to do so. People who lost out on additional benefits says DeWine should have continued them.

The Ohio Supreme Court is scheduled Wednesday to hear arguments on both sides. A decision isn’t expected for weeks.

At issue before the court is a weekly $300 federal payment for Ohioans to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The federal government ended that program Sept. 6, but DeWine stopped the payments June 26, 2021, saying the need for the payments was over.

DeWine followed the position of business groups that said the payments were making it difficult to recruit employees. Critics of ending the payments said workers had reasons why they might not be returning to jobs.

Ending the program early stopped about $900 million in Ohio payments. The two sides disagree on whether that money could still be paid, should the court rule against DeWine.

GOP Justice Patrick DeWine, the governor’s son, recused himself to avoid the appearance of impropriety “that might result from my father’s public involvement in this case.”


Associated Press