The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak is sending record numbers of Americans to state unemployment offices. Even at the best of times, navigating the system for receiving unemployment insurance benefits from the government can be overwhelming and frustrating. Here are some quick links and resources to make finding your way to the money you're eligible for easier.
If you are an employer who has completed or is planning a mass layoff or shutdown due to COVID-19, visit the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Employer Resource Hub for more information on how employees claiming unemployment affect your business.
How to claim unemployment
Visit unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/employee to get started as soon as you become eligible. Because of the pandemic, this includes W-2 workers and the self-employed, freelancers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors, and those who qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Unemployment benefits in Ohio are retroactive to when you lose your job, so if it takes some time to apply, you won't lose out on payouts. You may experience delays applying for unemployment because of volume, but keep at it.
Click here for a step-by-step guide to applying online. The Employee Resource Hub linked above also has extensive FAQs on the landing page.
If you need to speak to someone or apply over the phone, call (877) 644-6562. Extended call center hours are Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- If you're not comfortable speaking in English, translators are available in 14 languages, including Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Arabic, and Hindi.
Your unemployment benefits are handled by different processing centers depending on the last four digits of your Social Security Number. Click here to find yours if you need to get in touch.
In addition to unemployment payments from the state, the federal government will distribute $600 alongside each disbursal through July 25, 2020. Benefits will last for 26 weeks, if recertified every week during that period. An additional 13 weeks of benefits are available through the federal CARES Act, but be sure to apply for the extension, as it's not automatic. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will send a written notice with instructions for how to apply.
Who is eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
Those who don't qualify for regular unemployment benefits can still get PUA if they are diagnosed with, experiencing symptoms of, or affected directly by COVID-19, including:
- A member of the individual's household has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- The individual is providing care for a family member or member of the household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency, and the school or care is required for the individual to work
- The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a COVID-19 quarantine or because a healthcare professional has advised him or her to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns
- The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19
- The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19
- The individual has quit his/her job or was laid off as a direct result of COVID-19
- The individual's place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19
Visit Ohio's Expanded Eligibility Resource Hub for an extensive FAQ and to register for the PUA extended eligibility program.