Learn more about all the details such as the eligibility criteria, documents required to file for benefits, benefits extensions, etc. which you will need to know to successfully file for a claim and receive benefits without any hurdles.
Eligibility to Apply for UI Benefits in Ohio
Before setting out to apply for benefits, find out whether you meet all the eligibility conditions set by the state of Ohio. To gain eligibility, you will need monetary eligibility, you must have to establish the cause for separation from your previous organization and must ensure and establish that you have been following all the set criteria throughout the ongoing benefits weeks.
The conditions to gain monetary eligibility in the state of Ohio is that the applicant must have worked and earned ‘enough’ in ‘covered’ employment during the base period.
You must have worked for at least 20 weeks in covered employment during the base period, and average weekly wages of at least $261 during the base period. Also, your previous job must be ‘covered’ employment, where the employer has duly paid the Unemployment Insurance taxes.
If you have worked for less than 20 weeks, and/or worked for an employer who has not paid the UI taxes, you will not be eligible for UI benefits in Ohio.
The state of Ohio calculates wages to verify the eligibility of the applicants using two methods- ‘regular’ base period and ‘alternative’ base period. The regular base period consists of the first four calendar-quarters of the previous five calendar-quarters prior to filing for benefits. For instance, if your claim begins from the first quarter of 2019, i.e., January 2019 – April 2019, your base period will begin from October – 2017 and end on September 30, 2018.
In the event if you have not worked for the minimum of 20 weeks or if your average weekly wages during your regular base period is less than the minimum set wages of $261, you can opt to check your eligibility using the alternative base period.
The alternative base period is the last four completed calendar quarters before the beginning of your benefit period. For instance, if your benefits period begins from quarter January-April 2019, your base period will be from January 2018 to December 2018. It must, however, be noted that this method will only be used if you do not qualify through the standard base period calculation.
- To determine the weekly benefit amount, the state of Ohio follows a three-step process:
Compute the average weekly wage of the applicant by dividing the total wages earned during the base period by the number of qualifying weeks during which the applicant has worked in the base period.
For instance, if your total wages were $30,000 with 30 qualifying weeks, your average weekly wages will then be (30,000/30) $1,000 average weekly wages.
- Calculate 50 percent of your average weekly wages earned during the base period. For instance, if your average weekly wages were $1,000, 50 percent of that will be $500.
- Determine the number of dependents the applicant has. The applicants may receive higher benefit amounts if they have dependents to take care of. The maximum benefit amount, therefore, will depend on the number of dependents you have. Here’s the maximum benefits amount you can earn in Ohio:
- If you do not have any dependents and have weekly wages of over $886 during the base period, the maximum you can earn is $443.
- If you have 1 to 2 dependents and have weekly wages of over $1,074, the maximum benefit amount you may earn is $537.
- Finally, if you have 3 dependents or more and have an average weekly wage of $1,196 or more, you may earn up to $598.
The reason for your separation from your previous organization plays a crucial role in establishing your eligibility for unemployment benefits. The law in the state of Ohio mandates that you must have not lost your last job due a fault of your own.
In other words, you must have left the job with a ‘good cause’ or your employer must have fired you without a ‘good cause’ to consider that you separated from the last organization due to no fault of your own.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services largely classifies the reasons for job-separation as:
- Lack of work: If you lose your job due to lack of work or reduction in work-capacity in your organization, it would be considered that you lost your job for no fault of your own.
- Quit or left your job: If you choose to resign or quit from your previous organization when you had the chance to continue, it will be considered that you caused your own unemployment. To get benefits when you resign from your job, you must establish that you had a ‘just cause’ to resign. Some of the acceptable ‘just causes’ are:
- Your employer failed to meet the terms of the employment agreement.
- Your employer failed in providing a proper safety measure as mandated by law.
- Your employer violated moral, ethical or legal standards in the workplace.
- Discharged or Fired: If you got fired by your employer, you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits. If the employer establishes that you were fired for a ‘just cause’, you will not be entitled to UI benefits.
- Unemployment due to leave of absence: If you lost the job due to your decision to take unauthorized leave of absence, you will not be eligible for UI benefits in Ohio.
- Unemployed due to labor dispute: If you are unemployed due to labor disputes other than a lockout, you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits in Ohio.
Once your application for benefits gets accepted and you start receiving benefits amount, you must remember to follow certain guidelines to make sure that you receive the benefits without any hindrance.
To receive your unemployment benefits without any disturbance, make sure you fulfill the following conditions:
- You are physically and mentally available for work.
- You must be available for work at all times. To consider that you are available for work, you must be willing to accept work demanding you work at any shifts.
- If you are planning to take classes, you must notify ODJFS without fail, failing which you will not receive benefits from the following weeks.
- You must be actively looking forward to work throughout your benefit weeks till you land a job. You must submit your work-search report every time you file for benefits.
- You must approach at least two employers every week for work and the proof for which must be attached in your work-search report.
- As soon as your application gets approved, you must make sure to register with www.OhioMeansJobs.com.
- You may be asked by the department to attend the Reemployment Service Program to help to find work before you exhaust your benefits. Failing to attend the program or failing to complete any activities given by the program will result in stoppage of your benefits.
- You should accept any suitable offer made to you irrespective of the nature of shifts. Failing to do so will result in the suspension of your benefits.
- One of the most important conditions is that you must report all your income promptly and without fail. Failing to do so would not only result in the suspension of your benefits, but it will also result in an overpayment, which will have to be paid back with a penalty by the applicants.
How to Apply For UI Benefits in Ohio?
Make sure to carry the following documents to apply for benefits:
The following outlets are available to apply for benefits in Ohio:
You may apply for benefits online at unemployment.ohio.gov for immediate claim services throughout the day. You will be able to apply for benefits 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
If you do not have computers, you may visit your local library or the OhioMeansJobs center where computers are made available for public use.
You could also file for claims or restart an existing claim through a telephone call. Dial 1-877-644-6562 or if you wish to use the TTY line dial 1-614-387-8408 from 8 AM to 5 PM from Monday to Friday (except holidays) to file your claims. You may receive faster services if you call on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
How to File Weekly Claims
You may log in to the ODJFS online portal or connect with through a telephone call to file your weekly claims.
In order to maintain the confidentiality of the applicants, ODJFS mandates the users to create a Personal Identification Number (PIN) while filing for benefits the first time. Please note that your PIN will have the same legal authority as your signature on a paper document, Therefore, you must keep your PIN safe and not share it with anyone.
If you think that your PIN is compromised and somebody else finds it out, you must immediately reset it at www.unemployment.ohio.gov. You may also request a new PIN by calling 1-866-962-4064 or visit your assigned processing center.
UI Benefits Amount
This UI Benefits Calculator will help you to determine the approximate UI Benefits amount that you can presently receive in the state of Ohio.
Things to Know After Filing An Application
After filing for unemployment benefits, it is important for the applicants to acquaint themselves with the rules and regulations associated with Unemployment Insurance. Also, the ODJFS provides a catalog of services to help job-seekers find jobs and to build on their skill sets to improve their competitiveness in the job market.
Overpayments and Fraud
Overpayments occur when you end up receiving benefits which you were not entitled to. This may occur due to a number of reasons, such as the overturning of decisions made by appeal judgments, oversight made by applicants in submitting documents, or if the applicants indulge in fraudulent activities.
If it is found out that you’ve received an overpayment, a notice will be sent to you by ODJFS, which will explain:
- Why the payment made you was not correct or disallowed.
- When the payments were made incorrectly.
- The total amount that is considered an overpayment.
- The penalty you owe to ODJFS if fraudulent activities were involved.
If it is established that your UI application is canceled due to fraud, you will be asked to pay the following penalties:
- You will be expected to pay back the excessive amount.
- In addition to it, you will be charged with two penalty weeks for every week deemed as fraudulent.
- You will also be fined 25% of the total amount collected fraudulently.
You can repay the excessive amount via online money transfer by bank draft or credit card at http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouc/RepayOverpayment.stm. You can also mail a check or money order payable to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. Send a check or money order to the following address:
Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services
Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations
Attn: program Services, Finance Section
P.O. Box 182059
Columbus, Ohio 43218.
If the overpaid amount is not paid back in full within 66 days from the day the notice was served, the case may be referred to the Ohio Attorney General’s office for collection. To recover the amount, not only will the department have the right to deduct your weekly benefits as a part of the recovery process, but the department will also have the right to deduct your state or federal tax returns at the source.
If you believe that you were not overpaid, you may appeal against the notice within 21 days of receiving it.
There are no benefit extension programs given either by the federal government or by the state of Ohio presently. The extension programs are generally given during times of high unemployment. It is suggested that the applicants should visit or call the concerned authorities to known more about the current available Reemployment Assistance plans.
Job Training Assistance
Apart from issuing UI benefits, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services provides an array of services to the applicants. The department helps job-seekers meet their prospective employers, and also help them improve their skill sets, helping them to become more competitive in the job market.
Ohio’s OhioMeansJobs Centers offers a variety of services to the applicants for free of charge to help them make progress in their careers. Some of the important services provided by OMJ Centers are:
- All users can use the resource room in the OMJ Centers. The resource room contains job listing, computers with the internet connection, copiers, fax machines, and telephones.
- Job-matching services are offered by OMJ Centers, which are carried out by trained professionals.
- OMJ Centers regularly hosts job-search orientations, which can be attended by all users.
- OMJ Centers accepts applications for training and other intensive services. The center approves the applications on a case-by-case basis based on eligibility guidelines and funding availability.
- The center conducts users’ initial skill assessment and makes referrals to local resources and partner programs.
- It conducts re-employment workshops.
- It also provides group and individual career counseling sessions.