COVID-19 UPDATE: Because the coronavirus pandemic has left so many Americans jobless, the federal government has given states more flexibility in granting unemployment benefits. If you have questions about whether you’re eligible for unemployment benefits read our COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits and Insurance FAQ and check out Ohio's claimant handbook.
Ohio Unemployment Benefits and Eligibility
A Guide to unemployment benefits in Ohio
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, which means employees don’t pay any part of the costs to fund unemployment benefits.
The state also operates a comprehensive job-search, training, and placement program called OhioMeansJobs. The program is 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.
You can file a claim either online or through the Ohio unemployment phone number.
To file a claim online, visit the Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations page. You can file a claim online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you start your application online, you can save it and return to it within 24 hours.
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. You can use this tool to find your nearest OhioMeansJobs center.
To file a claim by telephone, call 1-877-OHIO-JOB (1-877-644-6562). You can call between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, from a touch tone phone. Have paper and a pencil ready to record any information you’re given.
What information do I need to file my claim?
When you apply for unemployment insurance in Ohio, 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 DD-214 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)
- The names and Social Security numbers of any dependents you have
- Your alien registration number and the expiration date of your work authorization if you are not a US citizen
- 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’s 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’s important that you answer these questions honestly since Ohio unemployment laws have strict penalties for unemployment insurance fraud.
When should I file my unemployment claim?
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 there is a delay in your Ohio unemployment claim filing by more than a week, you will not receive benefits for that week.
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 US mail. Otherwise you will be switched to a biweekly schedule.
Claims must be filed no later than 21 days after the last day of the claim week (which ends on Saturday).
Ohio Unemployment Offices
You can find one of several Ohio Unemployment Office locations using our free guide, or you can write to the Ohio Unemployment Office:
Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations
P.O. Box 182212,
Columbus, OH 43218-2212
You’ll use your Social Security number to find what location is processing your claim, according to this list.
Your case will be scheduled for either an in-person or a telephone hearing. If you’re 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.
Ohio Unemployment Phone Number
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
Combined Wage Claims, Disaster Unemployment Assistance Claims, Ex-Military Claims, Federal Civilian Employee Claims
- You should apply for Ohio unemployment as soon as you lose your job. You can do this through the Ohio unemployment website, at an Ohio unemployment office, or online.
- After meeting the eligibility requirements for Ohio unemployment, you may be approved to begin receiving unemployment benefits. If you’re denied based on Ohio unemployment qualifications, you may file an appeal.
- Soon after approval, you can begin collecting unemployment payments. State of Ohio unemployment benefits are capped at weekly payouts of $424 and are determined based on how much you earned with your last employer.
- Ohio unemployment weekly claims are necessary to receive your benefits. The state uses this information to determine you are searching for work, and failing to file them will end your benefits.
- The state gives unemployed workers up to 26 weeks of Ohio unemployment compensation while they search for new work. In some cases, such as high Ohio unemployment rates, the state may allow workers to file for extensions.
What are the requirements to qualify for unemployment benefits in Ohio?
To have Ohio unemployment eligibility, 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 than 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 pays Ohio unemployment insurance. 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 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.
What if I am denied benefits? How can I appeal a denial of my claim?
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 a.m. and 6 p.m., by faxing your appeal to 614-466-8392, or by mailing your appeal to one of the Ohio unemployment office locations.
How much will I be paid 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 Ohio unemployment 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 you have allowable dependents on your claim. Dependents can include children under 18 or a spouse within program guidelines.
To calculate 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
If your average weekly wage was
Then your maximum weekly payment is
$886 or higher
1 or 2
$1,074 or higher
3 or more
$1,196 or higher
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.
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 resumé on that site. You must also maintain and update the resumé 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 Ohio unemployment 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 choose 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.
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.