Ohio Unemployment Insurance: Eligibility and Benefits

FT Contributor  | 

If you live and work in Ohio and lose your job through no fault of your own, you may qualify to receive a weekly benefit check from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Employers pay unemployment insurance to the state to cover these benefits, which replace about half of your earnings for up to six months while you look for a new job.

Collecting unemployment in Ohio isn’t automatic when you lose your job, and you have to fulfill some responsibilities before you receive payments.

Ohio Unemployment Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for unemployment insurance benefits in Ohio, you must meet specific eligibility requirements:

  • You must be unemployed at the time you file your claim.
  • You must have worked for at least 20 weeks during the base period. Your base period is the first four of the previous five completed quarters. For example, if you apply in March 2020, your base period is January to December of 2019.
  • You must have earned at least $269 per week before taxes.

In some cases, if you did not work 20 weeks during your base period or earn $269 per week, you may still qualify for unemployment using an alternate base period method.

You must also be unemployed through no fault of your own. Under Ohio law, no-fault unemployment includes being laid off or downsized for economic reasons, or you lost your job due to a “reduction in force.” It’s also available if you are fired for acceptable reasons, which include being fired without cause or for performance reasons.

In some cases you can also collect unemployment if you quit. You must quit for job-related reasons and the Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations must deem that any reasonable person would have done the same. For example, if you need to quit because you are a victim of stalking or harassment, you can collect unemployment.

You are not eligible to apply for unemployment in Ohio if you are fired for cause, such as misconduct or deliberately failing to follow policy. You also cannot collect unemployment if you voluntarily left your job for a labor strike, or you are taking a temporary leave of absence or other voluntary time off.

Ohio also requires unemployment beneficiaries to actively look for work while collecting benefits. You must continue to make weekly claims to keep your benefits, notifying the state of your continued unemployment and your job search activities.

Ohio Unemployment Benefits

Ohio allows unemployed workers to collect a portion of their weekly pay when they become unemployed. The benefits will not replace all of their income, and are designed as temporary assistance measures. The state will also help individuals find new work when possible.

How Much Does Unemployment Pay?

Ohio unemployment insurance pays 50% of your average weekly pay during your base period. Your weekly benefit amount is determined by dividing how much you earned during the base period by the number of weeks you worked in the base period, and then dividing that amount by 2. However, your weekly benefit also takes into consideration your dependents, which includes your spouse in some cases. Unemployment benefits can only be collected for up to 26 weeks maximum.

When you apply for benefits, you can decide whether to receive them via direct deposit or a debit card. If you choose the debit card option, you’ll receive a US Bank debit card in the mail when your application is approved, and your weekly benefits will automatically be deposited to that account.

How to Apply for Unemployment in Ohio

The best way to file for unemployment in Ohio is to use the online system. The process typically takes less than 25 minutes to complete, and can be done 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you do not have access to a computer, you may file via telephone by calling 1(877) 644-6562, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Materials Needed to File an Unemployment Claim

To file your unemployment claim, you need to provide specific information. Before going online or calling, collect the following:

  • Your Social Security number;
  • Your driver’s license or state identification number;
  • Social Security numbers and date of birth for all of your dependents (if necessary);
  • Your spouse’s name, Social Security number, and birthdate if you are claiming dependents;
  • Names and addresses of all employers you’ve worked for during the previous six weeks;
  • Alien registration number and expiration date if applicable.

You will also need to supply your address and contact information, as well as information about your job title and skills and reason for your unemployment. If you worked outside of Ohio, worked for the federal government, or are separated from military service, you will need to provide additional information and documentation.

Once you submit your application and establish a PIN (which you will use to log in and report your job search activities) it typically takes three to four weeks to process. You may also receive additional instructions, as well as deadlines for completing tasks or submitting information, while your application is pending. Completing these tasks on time ensures your claim is processed as quickly as possible.

For More Information on Filing for Unemployment in Ohio

Ohio requires unemployment insurance recipients to actively look for work in order to receive benefits. In most cases, this means providing the names of at least two new potential employers you’ve contacted during the benefit period.

To help Ohioans find new jobs, the Department of Jobs and Family Services automatically establishes an account on OhioMeansJobs.com for anyone receiving unemployment. This is the state’s online career and employment service. Within the first eight weeks of filing your claim, you must upload a complete resume onto the site; the state will start the process for you using the information in your unemployment claim. By week 20 of collecting unemployment, you must complete a career assessment on the site.

If your unemployment benefits run out before you find more work, there are no current options for extensions from either the state or the federal government. However, Ohio does have established programs for other types of assistance, including housing, food and childcare, and heating. These and other programs can help residents meet their basic needs and get back on their feet after losing a job.


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