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Checks were in mail for a long, long time



Published: Thu, May 11, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Some payments to injured workers and people on welfare went missing.

By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

COLUMBUS -- Officials at the state Bureau of Workers' Compensation and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services are looking into how some recently mailed checks reached clients late or not at all.

At the BWC, which is the state's insurance fund for injured workers, officials are examining potential problems connected to an April 19 mailing that caused 142 payments valued at $94,659 to be reissued, BWC spokeswoman Nancy Smeltzer said Monday.

After that mailing, an undetermined number of people began calling BWC officials indicating their payments had not yet arrived. But BWC officials indicate that all of the payments in that bunch should have reached their correct destination by now.

Also, BWC officials have fielded about 65 phone calls from those indicating they had not yet received their payments connected to a May 4 mailing, Smeltzer said.

Smeltzer said the agency sends out between 25,000 and 27,000 checks every other week in payments to injured workers.

At ODJFS, the agency is looking into similar circumstances connected to a late April mailing of checks to recipients of the Ohio Works First cash-assistance program.

Dennis Evans, an ODJFS spokesman, said there were 90,436 Ohio Works First payments delivered to the post office April 28.

Another agency

Beginning the next Monday, ODJFS began receiving calls from various county JFS departments around the state indicating that some recipients had not received their checks, Evans said.

All told, about 2,000 phone calls have been received from Ohio Works First -- which was formerly called welfare -- recipients connected to the April 28 mailing, Evans said. In the meantime, an undetermined number of Ohio Works First recipients have called to tell state officials their checks had arrived, Evans said.

Both the BWC and ODJFS say they will be investigating what might have caused the potential problem.

Officials from the state agencies are to meet with the pre-mail sorting company and officials from the U.S. Postal Service, possibly later this week, on the issue.




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