Waive Penalty weeks for unemployment recipients in good standings during Covid19 in Ohio!

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Hello everyone My name is Cristina I live in Akron, Ohio. I am writing this petition because I feel like our state has failed us again. The unemployment system is making so many changes and flexibly for many people except for people that have penalty weeks. For people that don't know what Penalty weeks are they are weeks that add up for each week you get an overpayment from unemployment in addition you must pay back any overpayment that you received. Penalty weeks are for people that have at some point made a MISTAKE with their unemployment claims. For the people that have paid back that overpayment in full and are in good standings I am pleading for our government to either waive these penalty weeks or have people serve them at a later date. Yes I understand that penalty weeks are in place for a reason but right now during this very scary time we are in a pandemic where people can't work because of the stay at home order made by our government. We should not have to serve these weeks right now . I am not asking for you to get rid of them completely but to just move them so anyone that has lost their jobs because of Covid19 can serve them at a later date. 

I will now go on to tell you my personal experience with this issue. My fiance has lost his job due to no fault of his own because of the Covid19 pandemic. We have 5 children so when I heard that his work was closing I was terrified because I didn't know what we would do to feed our children or pay our bills. We signed him up for unemployment and were hoping it would all go through. It did go through we were so happy when he seen that he got approved because we knew we would be able to breath a little sigh of relief and at least be able to supply food for our children and pay our bills !! YAY !!! Then we were quickly disappointed because we realized when the unemployment site said he got a payment it said "pay week served" we called and called the unemployment office and they told us he has to serve 18 penalty weeks with NO pay because back in 2014 he had a few overpayments which he has paid back in FULL and that there is NOTHING they can do about it!!! They told us to just keep claiming weeks and serve the penalty weeks until they are all gone. This means he would have to serve 18 penalty weeks so from March 18th when he became unemployed to the end of July they want him to just sit here with no income and serve these penalty weeks. How is this possible when we clearly have to keep paying our rent, electric bill, gas bill, water bill, and MAKE SURE OUR KIDS HAS FOOD ON THE TABLE EVERYDAY!!!! We have called our Governor Mike Dewine a million times I have called our senator Rob Portman and We have reached out to legal aid to get help with this and NO ONE has responded !!!! So we are in a terrible spot now because he has tried to look for work but places that say they are hiring don't want anyone to actually start working until the end of May. We both understand that he made a mistake back in 2014 when these overpayments happened and he made sure to pay them back as quickly as he could because it was never intentional. Anyone that has to serve penalty weeks right now are also NOT ELIGIBLE for the Cares act emergency fund that extra $600 a week that is for eligible unemployment recipients. This is an impossible situation and I know if I can get this petition signed by you all and turn it over to our government they will see that this is NOT RIGHT and its absolutely fixable.  

Please sign our petition so we can get this issue fixed I know their are other families out there dealing with the same issue because I have spoken to a few of them. There are other states that are having the same issue. California has just resolved this issue and are making sure the people there that have been serving penalty weeks will now get their unemployment payments and all will be retroactive to when they became eligible for benefits. I will do everything I can until Ohio reaches this same decision or something close because during a pandemic we should be able to feel supported by our state and government!!! We are trying to stay strong and positive through this hard time. I hope everyone else is doing the same we can come out of this as long as we all support each other !!!! Thank you all so much for taking the time and reading through this and signing our petition I appreciate it more than you will ever know !! I hope you all are staying safe !!