Ohio Unemployment Benefits, Explained.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services administers unemployment insurance benefits for workers in the state who have become unemployed through no fault of their own.  Money to fund unemployment benefits comes from employer taxes.  Employees do not pay any part of the costs to fund unemployment benefits.

The State also operates a comprehensive job search, training and placement program called OhioMeansJobs.  It is also provided free of charge to anyone needing assistance and gives free access to tens of thousands of job openings, recruiting events and job search tools.

In addition, Ohio also offers several other unemployment benefit programs, including:

  1. Benefit Accuracy Measurement – All claims made for unemployment are subject to audit to measure the accuracy of the benefits a person will receive.  Randomly selected unemployment claims are checked for accuracy by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  2. Combined Wage Claim – If you worked in more than one state during your base period, you can possibly combine wages from both states for a greater benefit amount.
  3. Disaster Unemployment Assistance – If you do not qualify for Ohio unemployment benefits, you may still be able to collect benefits if your unemployment is cause by a federally declared disaster.
  4. Interstate Claim – If your base period of employment was in Ohio, but you are now living and seeking work in another state, you may file an Ohio interstate claim.
  5. Trade Act Programs – Trade Adjustment Assistance and Reemployment Trade Adjustment Assistance help workers who become unemployed due to increased imports or a shift in jobs to foreign countries.  For more information on this program, go here.
  6. Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Military Personnel – If you served in active duty during your base period and meet certain federal requirements, you may be eligible for benefits.  You will need to acquire a Form DD-214 to help process your claim.
  7. Unemployment Compensation for Federal Civilian Employees – If you worked as a civilian with the federal government during your base period, you may be eligible for benefits.

What are the requirements to qualify for unemployment benefits in Ohio?

To qualify for Ohio unemployment benefits, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You are either totally or partially unemployed when you file your claim.  If you are totally unemployed, it means you have no income or earnings due to you during the week you apply for unemployment.  If you work less that your full-time hours during the week you are let go from your job, you would be considered partially unemployed for that week and would be eligible for benefits.
  • You earned enough money and worked enough weeks in your base period to qualify for benefits.  To qualify, you must have worked at least 20 weeks during your base period.  Your employment must be “covered” employment, meaning that your employer pay unemployment insurance to the state.  Not all work is considered covered employment and may be a reason why you will not qualify for benefits.  In addition, you must have an average weekly wage of at least $247 during your base period for each week you worked.  To find out your average weekly wage, divide your total amount of wages during your base period by the total number of number of qualifying weeks. 
  • You are unemployed through no fault of your own.  If you were fired without good cause, that is considered “through no fault of your own.”  Some of the qualifying reasons might include a lack of work resulting in a layoff, downsizing, employer closing a business and so forth.  You may be able to collect benefits if you quit your job, as long as you can show just cause why you quit, such as unsafe working conditions, an employer who breached the terms of an employment agreement, or work that violated accepted legal or moral standards.

If you are discharged because you violated company rules, you did not perform your job adequately, you chose to take a leave of absence or you were disciplined due to poor conduct, you may not be eligible for benefits.  If you are involved in a labor dispute other than a lockout, you will not be eligible for benefits as well. 

How is my base period is determined for Ohio benefits?

To determine if you are eligible for unemployment benefits in Ohio, the state looks at the wages you earned during a base period.  A base period is a full year divided into four quarters of three months each.  The state also allows benefits to be considered by using an alternate base period in certain circumstances. 

A regular base period is the first four of the past five completed calendar quarters before your benefit account begins. 

If your claim begins between these dates:
Your alternate base period will be:
January 1 through April 1, 2017
October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016
April 2 through July 1, 2017
January 1 through December 31, 2016
July 2 through September 30, 2017
April 1, 2016  through March 31, 2017
October 1 through January 6, 2018
July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017

If you did not work at least 20 weeks or if your average weekly minimum wage was less than $247 in the regular base period, then the state will allow you to use the alternate base period instead.

The alternate base period is the last four completed calendar quarters before your benefit account begins.  You can only use the alternate base period if you do not qualify using the regular base period.

If your claim begins between these dates:
Your alternate base period will be:
January 1 through April 1, 2017
January 1 through December 31, 2016
April 2 through July 1, 2017
April 1 2016 through March 31, 2017
July 2 through September 30, 2017
July 1, 2016  through June 30, 2017
October 1 through January 6, 2018
October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017

How much will I be paid by the Ohio unemployment insurance fund and for how long?

When you file for unemployment, your account is set up for 52 weeks which is known as a benefit year.  Each account has a beginning and ending date and a weekly benefit amount as well as a total benefits payable amount.  You cannot receive more than the total benefits payable amount during the course of your benefits year.  Benefits that are paid at the full allowable amount will usually run out after 26 weeks. 

Your benefit amount may be affected if you worked part time and earned less than your benefit amount.  Typically your benefit amount is reduced by the income you receive from working part-time.  You may also be eligible to receive added benefits is your claim allowable dependents on your claim.  Dependents can include children under 18 or a spouse within program guidelines. 

To determine your weekly benefit amount, determine your average weekly wage by dividing the total wages for all qualifying weeks in your base period by the total number of qualifying weeks.  For example, if you had $40,000 in total wages and had 40 qualifying weeks then $40,000 divided by 40 weeks equals a $1,000 average weekly wage.  Determine what 50% of your average weekly wage is during the base period.  Next determine the number of allowable dependents and apply the maximums for each dependency classification:

# of allowable dependents
Dependency classification
If your average weekly wage was
Then your maximum weekly payment is
0
A
$886 or higher
$443
1 or 2
B
$1,074 or higher
$537
3 or more
C
$1,196 or higher
$598

Now compare your average weekly wage to the maximum payment for the number of allowable dependents.  You will receive the higher of the two amounts.

How do I file for unemployment benefits in Ohio?

As soon as you become unemployed, you need to file a claim for benefits.  Your claim begins on the Sunday of the week that you file.  If you delay in filing by more than a week, then you will not receive benefits for that week.

You can file a claim either online or by telephone.

To file a claim online, go here.  You can file a claim online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If you don’t have access to a computer, you can go to a local library or to a OhioMeansJobs center where computers are available for you to use.  To find your nearest OhioMeansJobs center, go here.  

To file a claim by telephone, call 1-877-OHIO-JOB (1-877-644-6562).  You can call between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday.  Have a paper and pencil ready.

Applying online or by phone takes about 25 minutes.  You can start your application online and return to it later on by saving your application, which will be stored for 24 hours. 

When you apply, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your Ohio Driver’s License Number or state ID number
  • Your contact information including a phone number and email address
  • The names, addresses, contact information and dates of employment for your previous employers
  • Your Form DD214 if you were in any branch of the military within the past 18 months.
  • Your Form SF-8 or SF-50 if you worked at a government employer within the past 18 months
  • The reason(s) why you became unemployed from your previous employer(s)
  • If you have dependents, you will need their names and Social Security numbers
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need your alien registration number and the expiration date of your work authorization.
  • Your normal occupation and job skills

When you apply, you will be asked to create a personal identification number.  This PIN is important because it allows you to access the system and to claim benefits each week.  It is important that you write your PIN down, keep it in a safe place and do not share it with anyone.  

After you file your initial claim, you must continue to file ongoing claims for benefits.  You will be asked several questions to verify that you are still eligible for benefits.  It is important that you answer these questions honestly, since Ohio has strict penalties for unemployment insurance fraud.

Ohio (OH) Unemployment Claims

You can file weekly or biweekly unemployment claims in Ohio.  You can file weekly only if you choose to have correspondence sent to you electronically instead of by U.S. mail.  Otherwise you will be switched to a biweekly schedule. 

To file your weekly claim online, go here and enter your user name and PIN.  You also need to enter your weekly job search information as well.

To file a weekly claim by phone call 1-877-OHIO-JOB (1-877-644-6562) from a touch tone phone.

Claims must be filed no later than 21 days after the last day of the claim week which ends on Saturday. 

Do I have to look for a job to get Ohio unemployment benefits?

To remain eligible for unemployment benefits, you must actively conduct a job search.  You will be required to report those efforts when you claim your benefits.  When you get your New Claim Instruction Sheet, it will outline the minimum work search efforts you must make each week.  Normally, this means you must apply with at least two separate employers that you have not repeatedly contacted for work.  If you fail to provide proof of your work search efforts, you may lose your benefits.  The state reserves the right to spot check employers that are listed on your claim to verify that you applied to them. 

In addition to applying with two employers each week, you must also register with OhioMeansJobs.com and create a searchable resume on that site.  You must also maintain and update the resume as requested and also create a Career Profile.  If you do not complete these activities by the deadlines you are given, your benefits may be denied. 

In addition, if you are active in a labor union, you are expected to stay active including remaining in contact with a hiring hall.  You are required to remain in good standing with your union as well.

If you live out of state and don’t normally commute to Ohio, then you may be required to register for another state’s job matching system.

As your claim ages, you may also be directed to take part in the state’s Reemployment Service Program or to complete one of that agency’s activities.  This may include attending workshops, counseling sessions or completing online exercises. 

If you are offered a job that is consistent with your prior training and experience, you must accept the offer or you run the risk that your benefits will be suspended.

When and how will I be paid my weekly unemployment?

When you file your application, you can choose to either have benefits paid by direct deposit to any bank account of your choosing or by having funds loaded on to an electronic debit card.

For direct deposit, you will need to provide your bank account information, including name, address, account number and routing information. 

If you do not elect to receive funds by direct deposit, you will be paid by having funds loaded onto a U.S. Bank ReliaCard Visa debit card.  No bank account is required to have this card and you can use it for purchases anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. 

Normally it will take about three to four weeks from the date you file your initial application until you get your first payment.

Like most other states, Ohio requires that you serve a one-week waiting period before benefits will be paid.  You should still file and claim benefits for this week so that your waiting week requirement is fulfilled.

What if I am denied benefits?  Is there an unemployment appeal in Ohio?

If you are denied unemployment benefits, you have the right to appeal the decision regarding your claim.  There are several levels of appeal.

If you disagree with an initial decision, you can file a written appeal within 21 days of the date that the determination was issued.  You can also file an appeal online.  A decision regarding your redetermination will be issued within 21 calendar days. 

If you still get an unfavorable determination, you can file a written appeal within 21 calendar days.  You can file your appeal online at www.unemployment.ohio.gov between 6 am and 6 pm, by faxing your appeal to 614-466-8392, or by mail to:

Ohio OH Unemployment Offices

Locate a local Ohio unemployment office using our free unemployment office finder tool, or you can write to the OH unemployment office at the address below.

Director, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Officer of Unemployment Insurance Operations
Bureau of Benefits and Technology
PO Box 182863
Columbus, OH  43218-2863

Your case will be scheduled for either an in-person or a telephone hearing.  If you are denied at this level, you may file an appeal with the common pleas court of the Ohio county where you live or were last employed.  Appeals must be filed within 30 days of the mailing date of the commission-level decision.

OH Unemployment Related Key Terms

As you read through this guide, you should know and understand what the following terms are:

  • Base period – a standard base period consists of the first four quarters beginning 18 months prior to your claim. Calendar quarters run January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December.
  • Alternate base period – If you do not qualify for benefits using wages from your base period, then the state will allow you to use wages from your alternate base period
  • Benefits – Payments made either weekly or biweekly to people who qualify for unemployment are known as benefits.
  • Benefit week – Benefits are paid for calendar weeks of unemployment. The week starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday.
  • Benefit year – The effective date of your first claim is the beginning of your benefit year and is the Sunday of the week that you file your first claim.
  • Claimant – A person filing for unemployment benefits is known as a claimant.

Click Here for our Guide on Unemployment Insurance in all states.

Regular unemployment claims in Ohio are assigned to processing centers based on the last four digits of the claimants Social Security number.

If your Social Security number ends in…
Then call this Processing Center number
0000-0822
1-866-576-0006
0823-2055
1-866-768-0022
2056-2786
1-866-849-0029
2787-4384
1-800-589-2799
4385-5252
1-866-244-0399
5253-6622
1-866-867-0044
6623-7672
1-866-221-0558
7673-8586
1-866-541-0187
8587-9999
1-866-272-0118
Combined Wage Claims, Disaster Unemployment Assistance Claims, Ex-Military Claims, Federal Civilian Employee Claims
1-866-458-0007

To contact your processing center by mail, send correspondence to:
Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations
PO Box 182212
Columbus, OH 43218-2212

You can also contact a processing center by fax to 614-466-7449.

For all correspondence, be sure to include your full name claimant ID and/or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. To report cases of fraud, call 1-800-686-1555. To go to the home page of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, go here.