What You Need to Know: Unemployment Benefits in Ohio Due to COVID-19

Chang Fu
April 13, 2020

Ohio Unemployment Benefits During COVID-19

With the world economy crashing down around us, the COVID-19 pandemic continues apace. Although there is some light at the end of the tunnel—the IMHE’s projected outbreak and death figures have dramatically dropped 3 separate times this week alone—there are still millions of people forced out of work and desperately wondering how they’ll pay their bills, food, and rent.  

If you find yourself amongst those Ohioans recently unemployed, furloughed, or with reduced hours because of this government-imposed shutdown, you’re likely eligible to file for Ohio unemployment. And, fortunately, the federal government has passed legislation that expands eligibility and increases benefits. 

Wondering how to apply for unemployment Ohio? Here is what you should know and do in order to receive the aid you need to weather this crisis. 

  • Ohio Unemployment Benefits During COVID-19
  • How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits, Ohio
    • Step 1: Check Your Eligibility Status
    • Step 2: Have All of Your Important Information On Hand
    • Step 3: Fill out the Ohio Unemployment Application
      • Apply for Unemployment By Phone
      • Apply for Unemployment Online
    • Step 4: Select a Payment Method for Ohio Unemployment Benefits
      • Receive Unemployment By Check
      • Receive Unemployment by Direct Deposit
      • Receive Unemployment by Debit Card
    • Step 5: Search for a Job (Optional)
    • Step 6: File your Ohio Unemployment Claims
  • Unemployment Benefits Per Person (or Household)
  • Unemployment, Ohio in the Wake of COVID-19
  • Unemployment Insurance Benefits and the CARES Act
  • How Do I Receive the Stimulus Check?
  • Possible Finance Providing Additional Financial Assistance

How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits, Ohio

As you might imagine, what with the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans suddenly out of work, the process of actually applying for OH unemployment benefits is currently a logjam. Thousands of people filing simultaneously has led to website crashes and long wait times because of the high traffic and call volume. 

Keep in mind that there are countless people in the same situation as yourself and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has limited resources to take care of them all. Knowing this may not ease your stress and anxiety over the lack of funds, but it should be something you consider as the Ohio government scrambles to add more workers to the fold. 

For now, we suggest you apply online since call times are quite long. However, we’ll describe both processes below.

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility Status

To apply for unemployment, Ohio residents must confirm eligibility status. Before COVID-19, eligibility status was based on four primary factors:

  • You were completely or partially unemployed – You had no income or earnings while you applied for Ohio unemployment compensation, or you worked less than your full-time hours.
  • You earned enough money and worked enough weeks in the base period – You must have worked at least 20 weeks during the base period and your employer had to have been paying into Ohio unemployment insurance. Further, you needed to make at least $247 for every week worked during the base period.
  • You were unemployed without being at-fault – You had been laid off, quit for reason, or fired for reasons besides misconduct. 
  • You were available for work and actively seeking employment – This program was seen as a safety net and not a handout—the goal was to provide a cushion as people seeking a new job.  

Now, however, with the passage of the CARES Act and further action by Governor Mike DeWine, eligibility for the unemployment benefits Ohio residents require was expanded. It now includes those who were self-employed, gig workers, and workers who lost hours because of the government shutdown. According to Equality Ohio:

“Previously, in order to receive unemployment benefits in the state of Ohio, you would have been required to actively search for work during your benefits period. Under Governor DeWine’s expansion of the benefits program, this requirement has been suspended during this period of emergency. DeWine has also lifted the required one-week waiting period so that those in need of unemployment benefits can begin receiving monetary assistance right away.”

This allows a greater number of Ohians to be eligible for unemployment benefits in the wake of COVID-19.

Step 2: Have All of Your Important Information On Hand 

Before filing for unemployment insurance, you will need to have the following information available to complete an Ohio unemployment application. This includes:

  • Contact information – Your name, number, birth date, phone, physical address, email address, and Social Security Number.
  • Work history over the past 18 months –  Your employer’s name, address, phone number, and the start and termination date. 
  • Banking information – If you want to sign up for a direct deposit, you’ll need to provide your bank account and routing number.

Be sure to have all of this information at the ready for when you apply. Online services are kicking inactive users off (after a certain amount of time goes by) to allow bandwidth for active users. Additionally, phones are backlogged, so you’ll want to be sure to have the information available when you’re speaking to a representative.

Step 3: Fill out the Ohio Unemployment Application 

There are two primary methods for applying for unemployment benefits in Ohio: by phone or through the official online portal.

Apply for Unemployment By Phone

You can call the unemployment office at 877-655-6562. They are open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. However, call times are quite slow, so it’s recommended to go through the online portal before trying the phone. If you don’t have access to the internet, this option will be available, but may take days to get through.

Apply for Unemployment Online

You may file a claim online at any time so long as you have access to a computer. In order to apply to click this link, and sign in to your Claimant Login, or create an account. To create an account you will need to provide your name, Social Security number, and birthdate.

Once you’ve finished the process, check to confirm that you received a verification email stating that your application was successfully submitted. 

Step 4: Select a Payment Method for Ohio Unemployment Benefits 

There are three payment options available for Ohians currently.

Receive Unemployment By Check

The default payment method for unemployment benefits is via physical check. Although this is the default option, it is not as secure as the other two methods, and it creates additional work of depositing the money, unlike direct deposit or debit card. 

Receive Unemployment by Direct Deposit

If the government has your direct deposit information already, the money will be sent directly to your bank; however, you can opt into it by providing those relevant banking details. To do this, go to the online portal and input all the relevant bank account information.

Direct deposit is the most secure option of the three and the one most recommended by officials.

Receive Unemployment by Debit Card

You can have the money sent to an EBT debit card that you use like any other card. With this method, you can monitor transactions, use it wherever VISA is accepted, withdraw cash, and receive fraud protection.

Step 5: Search for a Job (Optional)

In normal circumstances, you’d be required to be applying for jobs weekly and then providing proof of application in order to receive your UI benefits. However, because of COVID-19, this restriction has been lifted for the next year. So, although it would be smart to start the job hunt, it’s no longer necessary in order to receive your unemployment payments. 

Step 6: File your Ohio Unemployment Claims

Once you’ve been accepted into the program, you will need to file a weekly or biweekly unemployment claim. To file your claim you can either complete it online here or make a claim by phone by calling: 1-877-644-6562. 

Typically, there is a one-week waiting period before benefits begin to be paid out, but due to the current situation, it may take longer. 

Unemployment Benefits Per Person (or Household)

The unemployment benefits you receive are dependent on your weekly wage when you were working. According to the Ohio Unemployment Office, the weekly benefit amount is calculated by:

“The weekly benefit amount is the number of benefits you may be entitled to receive for one week of total unemployment. Your weekly benefit amount is computed at one-half of your average weekly wage during your base period. However, in no case may the weekly benefit amount exceed the state’s annually established maximum levels (based on the number of allowable dependents claimed).” 

There is a maximum cap placed upon benefit payouts. For 2020, the maximums are:

  • 0 qualifying dependents – Maximum weekly benefit amount of $480
  • 1-2 qualifying dependents – Maximum weekly amount of $582 
  • 3 qualifying dependents – Maximum weekly benefit amount of $647

Per households these numbers can be multiplied by two. Additionally, the CARES Act would provide an additional $600 (or $1200 for household) or more per week to these figures (more on this in the section Unemployment Insurance Benefits and the CARES Act below).

Unemployment, Ohio in the Wake of COVID-19 

After the virus took hold, world leaders were forced to make the unprecedented decision to shut down non-essential businesses and order citizens to shelter in place. And so, the world economy took a nosedive the likes of which hasn’t ever been seen nor likely ever will see again. As a result, the stock market plunged 30%, GDP contracted, and more than 10,000,000 Americans found themselves out of work and filing for unemployment.  

According to NPR, Ohio wasn’t spared from this fate. Through the first two weeks of March, 13,591 people filed for unemployment, a high number no doubt, but manageable. Over the next two weeks 468,438 more filed—a 3,347% increase. And there’s little doubt that these meteoric numbers will continue to rise. 

Unemployment Insurance Benefits and the CARES Act 

Unemployment insurance (UI) is a joint program set up between the federal government and states. In it, states have control over the process, so qualifying and applying for unemployment benefits will differ from Ohio to another state. Originally, it was created to provide a safety net and financial assistance for people who were out of work but still looking for a job. But it has been somewhat amended thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

So, what did the CARES Act do? 

The $2.2 trillion stimulus package—the largest of its kind in history—accomplished many things, but for purposes of unemployment benefits it stipulated the following:

  • Created a one-time check for individuals of $1,200, couples filing jointly for $2,400, and an additional $500 for each child under the age of 16. 
  • Created an additional $600 per week available to everyone on unemployment.
  • Extended benefits by 13 weeks for a maximum of 39 weeks. 
  • Expanded eligibility to workers (including self-employed) who had lost jobs, hours, or been furloughed due to Coronavirus.  

How Do I Receive the Stimulus Check? 

So, how do you get that one-time stimulus check? First, you have to be eligible. 

To receive the full amount, an individual tax filer must have an adjusted gross income beneath $75,000, or beneath $150,000 for married couples filing jointly. And, according to Fox8, “Eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans’ benefits as well as taxpayers who do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return will receive a payment. This also includes those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from certain benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income benefits.”

If your direct deposit information is on file with the government, the money will be deposited directly into your account at some point in the next few weeks. But, if you didn’t file your taxes in 2018 or 2019, you will need to file a simple tax return to receive the payment, even if you made less than $12,000 in 2019. 

The IRS plans on creating a web-based portal to provide your banking information, but there is no current news on when that will be up and running. Also, you should know that the money won’t be taxed later; at its essence, it’s simply an advanced 2020 tax credit payment.  

Possible Finance Providing Additional Financial Assistance 

Naturally, you may be eligible for the unemployment benefits and stimulus check but there’s still concern over the fact that it could take some time to receive any money. In the meantime, your bills still need to be paid. So, what are you to do then?

That’s where Possible Finance comes in. We allow both new and existing customers to borrow up to $500 instantly, no questions asked. Even if your credit score is bad, we want you to have the ability to meet your needs regardless of your financial history. We offer low-interest installment loan plans, allowing you to repay the loan in small increments over the course of several months. You can apply, get approved, and have funds available in just a few minutes. It’s that fast and easy. 

We all need to band together to overcome a situation such as this. At Possible Finance, our goal is to be your partner and advisor in your time of need.

Sources: 

IMHE. COVID-19 Projections. https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america

Forbes. Longest Economic Expansion In United States History. https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidmarotta/2020/01/21/longest-economic-expansion-in-united-states-history/#2ea2e00a62a2

Statista. Monthly unemployment rate in the United States from March 2019 to March 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/273909/seasonally-adjusted-monthly-unemployment-rate-in-the-us/

NPR. Staggering: Record 10 Million File For Unemployment In 2 Weeks. https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/02/825383525/6-6-million-file-for-unemployment-another-dismal-record

NPR. What's Inside The Senate's $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package. https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821457551/whats-inside-the-senate-s-2-trillion-coronavirus-aid-package

Fox8. Do I qualify for a stimulus check? What do I need to do to receive it? Here is a complete guide…https://fox8.com/news/do-i-qualify-for-a-stimulus-check-what-do-i-need-to-do-to-receive-it-here-is-a-complete-guide/

Equality Ohio. Unemployment Changes in Ohio due to COVID-19. https://www.equalityohio.org/unemployment-changes-in-ohio-due-to-covid-19/
Unemployment Ohio. How Ohio’s Unemployment Insurance Benefit Amounts Are Calculated. https://unemployment.ohio.gov//PDF/HowOhioUCBenefitsAreCalculated.pdf

Chang Fu

Chang is an avid writer, among other things, at Possible. He grew up loving reading and writing, creating his own poems and even a book he's now hidden in an old closet, unpublished. His financial experience at a large bank along with his passion for technology to help undeserved communities inspires him to write for Possible.

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