Apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI) in Ohio when you become unemployed, to find monetary support until you find another job. Submit your UI application to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) in the state of Ohio to avail the benefits.
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 file for a Ohio unemployment claim and receive benefits without any hurdles.
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 set to receive unemployment benefits in Ohio is that you 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 $315 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 2023, i.e., January 2023 – April 2023, your base period will begin from October – 2021 and end on September 30, 2022.
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 $315, 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 2023, your base period will be from January 2022 to December 2022. 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 your average weekly wage by dividing the total wages earned during the base period by the number of qualifying weeks during which you have 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 your number of dependents. You 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 unemployment benefits amount you can earn in Ohio:
If you do not have any dependents and have weekly wages of over $1,122 during the base period, the maximum you can earn is $561.
If you have 1 to 2 dependents and have weekly wages of over $1,360, the maximum benefit amount you may earn is $680.
Finally, if you have 3 dependents or more and have an average weekly wage of $1,514 or more, you may earn up to $757.
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
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
Make sure to carry the following documents to apply for unemployment benefits in Ohio:
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 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.
After filing for unemployment benefits, it is important to acquaint yourself with the rules and regulations associated with Ohio 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 Unemployment Fraud
Overpayments occur when you end up receiving benefits which you were not entitled to. Ohio unemployment fraud 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 you indulge in fraudulent activities.
If it is found out that you’ve received an overpayment, a notice will be sent to you by ODJFS.
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 file an appeal against the notice within 21 days of receiving it.
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 offer 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 accept 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
OMJ Centers can be found in all of Ohio’s 88 counties, click here to locate a center near you.
For help with finding a new job, including resume writing help and training programs, visit your local American Jobs Center.
Additional benefits available to Ohio residents
In addition to unemployment insurance benefits, several other benefit programs exist to help Ohio residents who need financial assistance. We’ve outlined many of them below.
Social Security Disability Income
If you’ve become unable to work because of a medical disability, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Income. The SSDI program in Ohio is administered through the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD). This office will help determine whether you worked long enough and paid enough in Social Security taxes, along with whether your medical condition qualifies you for SSDI benefits by meeting the SSA’s definition of disability. You can apply for the SSDI program through the Social Security Administration.
According to federal law, you must meet the SSA’s definition of disabled in order to qualify for benefits. This means you must be unable to complete any substantial work because of your medical condition, and your medical condition(s) must have lasted (or be expected to last) at least one year, or be diagnosed as terminal.
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is an additional federal program that originates with the Social Security Administration but is administered at the state level in Ohio. The SSI program is designed to provide financial assistance for those who have a disability, are blind, or are over age 65 – and also have documented low income and limited resources. As with Social Security Disability Income, you should apply for SSI benefits through the Social Security Administration.
Medicaid is a federal health care program that is administered at the state level. In Ohio, residents who meet citizenship requirements, and are classified as low income, pregnant women with infants or children, age 65 or older, or disabled may be eligible to participate in the program. The state of Ohio offers several different options when it comes to Medicaid plans. Once you’ve determined the program that best meets your needs, you may apply for Medicaid benefits online, in person, or by phone.
Ohio Food Stamps
Many Ohio residents may know the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program by its former Food Stamps label. This program provides temporary financial assistance to help families purchase food for their households. Typically, SNAP funds are loaded onto a prepaid card that can be used much like a debit card to purchase eligible items from participating grocery stores, farmers markets, convenience stores, and other vendors. SNAP eligibility is based on household income, and you can apply online at benefits.ohio.gov.
Ohio Housing Assistance
Through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), low-income and moderate-income Ohio residents can gain access to affordable housing. This program is designed to assist first-time homebuyers, renters, senior citizens, and others who need quality affordable housing.
OHFA offerings include rental housing through the Housing Tax Credit program, tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds, and others that help eligible Ohio residents access affordable housing programs. The OHFA is not a direct mortgage lender, but it partners with mortgage lenders including banks, mortgage companies, and credit unions in more than 600 locations across Ohio. In addition, the OHFA works with affordable housing property managers to guarantee the maintenance of healthy and safe living environments in all OHFA-assisted housing developments.
Home Energy Assistance Program
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP or HEAP) is a federal program that allows eligible Ohio residents to receive financial assistance with their home energy bills. The program provides a one-time benefit that is applied directly to the customer’s utility bill. Ohio residents that report a household income at or below 175 percent of federal poverty guidelines may be eligible to participate in the program, and it is open to both homeowners and renters. Applicants may submit their applications online, in person or by mail.
Women, Infants and Children Program
This program, known as WIC, makes available nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support, supplemental nutritious food, and medical referrals to pregnant women and children in Ohio up to age 5. The program is designed to help ensure healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes among low-income families, and to give the youngest Ohio residents the nutritious food they need to thrive. You can apply for WIC benefits at any WIC clinic in your area.
If you think that the security of your PIN is compromised, if you forgot your PIN, or if you want to change your PIN for any other reason, you may either reset it online at www.unemployment.ohio.gov, or you may also may request a new one by calling (877) 644-6562 or your assigned processing center. In the event you incorrectly enter the PIN three times in a row, you will have to reset it. You can reset your PIN and immediately receive the new PIN if you have an email address on file with ODJFS. If you do not have an email address on file with ODJFS, the new PIN will be sent by U.S. mail
Q. How to Reopen an Existing Ohio Unemployment Claim
It may become necessary for you to reopen an existing Ohio unemployment claim if you suspend or cancel your unemployment because you found a job, and then later became unemployed again. Generally, you can reopen an existing unemployment claim by simply filing a weekly certification online or by phone -- just like you did every week when you receiving unemployment previously. In some cases, it may be necessary to speak to an unemployment counselor or start the process all over again in order to reopen an existing unemployment claim in Ohio. If this is the case, contact your unemployment counselor to get exact instructions on how to proceed.
Q. How do I properly report earnings or income on my claim?
Report any gross (before-tax) earnings for work performed while claiming unemployment benefits. Also, report any other income you may have received while claiming unemployment benefits. Report any earnings during the week you earned them, not the week you were paid them. Here’s an example showing how to calculate gross earnings:
10 hours worked X $10 per hour = $100 gross earnings to report on your weekly claim.
For step-by-step instructions, learn how to file a weekly claim in Ohio.
Q. How will the payments be made to the claimants?
The claimants may choose one of the two methods offered by ODJFS. When you file an application, you will be given an option to receive the benefits as a direct deposit into your account, or you can opt to receive a dedicated debit card. If you choose to receive a direct deposit, you may have to provide your bank’s name, complete address, routing number, and your account number.
Q. How do I file an appeal if I don’t agree with my determination?
If you disagree with any decision regarding your claim, you may file an appeal and continue to file claims for any weeks you are unemployed. Be sure to file the appeal within 21 days from the date the determination was issued.
Appeal instructions are listed at the bottom of your determination. Click here to learn more about Ohio appeals.
Q. Should I seek work if I am returning to my last employer or I have a definite return-to-work date?
Your work-search requirement could be waived if you are expected to return to work within 45 days and if your employer promptly verifies this information. It also could be waived if you are enrolled in approved training or if you’re a member in good standing with a union that refers individuals to jobs. However, If your expected return-to-work date is longer than 45 days, your work search will not be waived.
Q.What is a Monetary Affidavit?
If you receive a Monetary Affidavit after applying for unemployment benefits, it indicates that more information is needed about your case. The affidavit contains information verified by your former employer(s), including the number of weeks you worked and the total wage you earned, which you are expected to review carefully. If there are errors or missing wages, enter the correct information in the appropriate boxes. Also gather any verifiable proof of your corrections, such as copies of your W2 or pay stubs. Sign and date the affidavit and return it by the deadline date to either the fax number or the mailing address on the form. Be sure to include the documents that prove your correction was accurate.
Q. Under what circumstances will I be asked to restart my claim?
You will be asked to restart your claim if there was a break in filing your weekly claims. This could have happened because:
You earned more than your weekly benefit amount.
You had a week of work followed by a week of no work, regardless of earnings.
You stopped filing weekly claims for any other reason.
Q. What does it mean if my payment is in “pay held” status?
If your application for benefits was approved previously, and if one or more of your weekly claims is showing as “pay held,” please make sure you have responded to all notices or requests for information. If you believe you have responded to all notices, please know that it may take up to 7 business days for the information to be reviewed. If additional information is needed, someone from our agency will contact you.