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Ohio Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment Resource

Phone: (877) 644-6562

File a claim

Any unemployed worker may apply for unemployment insurance benefits. A person should apply as soon as he/she becomes unemployed. Usually individuals file during the first calendar week after losing a job. Weekly benefits are not paid retroactively, so the sooner he/she files, the sooner an applicant may be eligible for benefits.

An unemployed worker has four filing options:

  1. To go in person to the nearest Ohio local reporting office. A list of offices is included on this page.
  2. To register by telephone on the toll-free number: 1-877-644-6562 (OHIO-JOB).
  3. To call Ohio's interstate toll-free number if residing in Ohio but employment was in another state: 1-800-251-6237.
  4. To report to any state's unemployment office if residing in another state.

If filing in person, the applicant should bring two forms of identification, such as a driver's license, social security card, photo ID, or organization card, and a pay stub from his/her last employer. The applicant should have the name, address, and telephone number of the last place he/she worked. Additional information such as W-2 forms and pay stubs from each company for whom the applicant worked in the past 18 months is also helpful.

If filing by telephone, the applicant should have the same information as listed above when making the telephone call. The telephone registration web site gives additional information.

If separated in the past 18 months from the U.S. armed forces, the applicant also must submit a DD-214 (Member 4).

If separated in the past 18 months from federal civilian employment, the applicant also must submit a SF-8 and SF-50.

If employed out-of-state in the past 18 months, the applicant must provide the name(s) and address(es) of the employer(s).

If other than a U.S. citizen, the applicant must have evidence to establish authorization to perform work in the United States during the period of employment.

Unemployment Reporting Offices:

Ashtabula  (440) 992-2132 
Athens  (740) 593-7444 
Batavia  (513) 732-1564 
Bellefontaine  (937) 592-4070 
Bowling Green  (419) 353-5321 
Cambridge  (740) 432-6355 
Canton  (330) 438-7676 
Cincinnati   (513) 852-3163 
Cleveland   (216) 787-3499 
Cleveland East/Euclid  (216) 692-3550 
Dayton   (937) 224-1416 
Delaware   (740) 363-1347 


Elyria   (440) 324-5157 
Findlay  (419) 423-2980 
Fremont  (419) 332-7349 
Greenville (937) 548-4136 
Hillsboro  (937) 393-1440  
Lancaster  (740) 653-4262 
Lorain   (440) 244-4030 
Mansfield  (419) 524-4511 
Marietta  (740) 374-7167 
Marion   (740) 382-1115 
Marysville  (937) 644-9195 
Mount Vernon   (740) 397-7717 
Newark  (740) 345-3402 
New Philadelphia  (330) 339-6677 
Norwalk   (419) 668-1631 
Painesville  (440) 352-6106 
Portsmouth  (740) 354-7771 
Rio Grande  (740) 245-9509 
St. Clairsville   (740) 695-4431 
Sandusky  (419) 625-5732 
Seneca County  (419) 447-6812 
Sidney   (937) 492-6136
  Steubenville   (740) 283-4165   
  Toledo Downtown    (419) 245-2956 
Toledo Southwyck  (419) 865-7248 
Washington CH  (740) 335-4830 
Waverly  (740) 947-7754 
Wooster   (330) 262-7735 
Xenia   (937) 376-2134 
Zanesville  (740) 452-5491 

The completion of the application depends on the method in which the applicant reports.

When filing in person, the individual fills in an application form with information such as social security number, name, address, and telephone number; the name, address, telephone number, payroll stubs, and dates of employment with each employer for the past 18 months; as well as the reason he/she became unemployed from each employer. The applicant also must provide information about each dependent he/she wishes to claim. This includes the birth date and school name of each child, step-child, or adopted child; documentation of a mental or physical disability of any child, step-child, or adopted child 18 years or older who is unable to work; and the social security number and earnings for the past 90 days of a dependent spouse.

When filing by telephone, the applicant furnishes the same information to a customer service representative. The applicant will receive by mail an acknowledgment form which lists the forms enclosed: some to be read and retained; others to be read, completed, signed, and returned.

If an applicant is eligible for unemployment benefits, the benefits are payable over a 52-consecutive-week period (the benefit year).Within this benefit year, the applicant has an assigned amount of money from which to draw (the total benefits payable).The benefit year remains in effect for the 52-week period, even if the individual becomes re-employed or fails to meet weekly eligibility requirements.

If the applicant returned to work, but became separated from that job during the benefit year, he/she may file an "additional" application to reopen the claim by one of the filing methods explained above.

The applicant must provide the name, address, and dates of employment for each employer for whom he/she worked since last claiming benefits. He/she should have the UC-450 reporting booklet, as well as a social security card or driver's license.

In addition to local Ohio offices, an applicant may file claims at any local office of a similar agency in the other 49 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands.

There are two types of requirements. The first type of requirement is monetary (weeks and wages). The applicant must:

  • Be unemployed at the time of filing;
  • Have at least 20 qualifying weeks of covered employment in the base period; and
  • Earn an average weekly wage of at least $172.00 (this amount changes each year).

The second type of requirement is nonmonetary (unemployment must be through no fault of the applicant).

Under Ohio law, most employers are required to pay contributions for unemployment insurance. Work for such an employer is "covered" employment. Work for a nonprofit or government agency is "covered" employment, even though the employer does not pay regular contributions, but instead reimburses the cost of unemployment benefits paid to its former workers.

Every calendar year is divided into the following four parts, known as "quarters"
1st Quarter: January 1 through March 31
2nd Quarter: April 1 through June 30
3rd Quarter: July 1 through September 30
4th Quarter: October 1 through December 31

The "base period" is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters immediately before the first day of an applicant's benefit year. If an applicant does not have 20 weeks of covered employment in the "base period," the "alternate base period" may be used. The "alternate base period" includes the most recently completed calendar quarter instead of the one five quarters ago. The base period never includes more than four quarters.

An applicant's unemployment must not be his/her fault. If laid off due to a "lack of work" (for example, the job was abolished, the business closed, or the plant shut down), there is no question that the applicant did not cause the unemployment. The monetary requirements also must be met to qualify for unemployment benefits.

An applicant's unemployment must not be his/her fault. If the applicant quit a job when the option of remaining employed existed, he/she has caused the unemployment. To establish eligibility, the applicant must show that he/she had "just cause" for leaving the job.

Examples of "just cause" may include such reasons as:

  • The worker's health was endangered or he/she was physically unable to do the work. The worker notified the employer with a medical statement before quitting and gave the employer reasonable time to find other suitable work for him/her.
  • The employer refused to meet conditions of the hiring agreement, such as hours or wages.
  • The employer refused to provide legally-required safety equipment or measures.
  • The employer required the worker to perform work that violated accepted moral or legal standards.
  • The applicant must provide information showing that he/she had "just cause" for quitting the employment.

If he/she was discharged (fired), may an applicant be eligible for benefits?

An applicant's unemployment must not be his/her fault. If discharged from a job, the applicant may be considered not eligible for benefits -- if the employer shows why the discharge was for "just cause."

Examples of a discharge for "just cause" include if the worker:

  • Violated established company rules.
  • Neglected the responsibilities of the job.
  • Disregarded the employer's interests.
  • Performed the work carelessly.

On the other hand, if the worker was fired because he/she refused to perform duties that were known to endanger one's health or violated accepted legal standards, the discharge is not considered to be for "just cause."

Ohio law defines "just cause" for a quit or discharge as whether the action taken was what an ordinary person would do under similar circumstances.

The law does not provide specific disqualifications for unemployment due to pregnancy. Any issue related to pregnancy must be decided under the regular eligibility provisions of the law, including being able to work and available for work.

If the unemployment is because of a labor dispute other than a lockout, the applicant will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits for as long as the dispute continues.

If the applicant's unemployment is because of a lockout, the labor dispute will not disqualify him/her from eligibility for benefits.

The applicant will be mailed a "Notice of Determination of Unemployment Compensation Benefit Rights" form that reports if he/she met the monetary requirement (weeks and wages). If the requirement is not met, the notice will report that the application is disallowed and explain the reason. If the requirement is met, the notice identifies the total amount of benefits and the period of time over which benefits may be paid.But this does not mean the applicant will receive benefits! The notice merely explains what the applicant will receive if the nonmonetary requirement (unemployed through no fault of his/her own) is met and he/she maintains eligibility when filing weekly claims.

The applicant will be mailed a second notice, called the "Determination of Unemployment Compensation Benefits." This form will tell the applicant if the reason for unemployment was "nondisqualifying" or "qualifying." If the reason is "disqualifying," the form will advise the applicant that benefits are suspended and will detail the requirements that must be met before receiving unemployment benefits.

If the applicant disagrees with either determination, he/she may file an appeal for redetermination

"Duration of unemployment" is the full period of unemployment after a disqualifying separation from an employer. This period continues until the applicant becomes employed at another job. An applicant may requalify for benefits if he/she obtains another job in covered employment, works at least six weeks, and earns wages equal to six times the amount needed to establish a qualifying week. In 2002, this amount is $1,032.00. Once again, the applicant's unemployment must have been for a lack of work or some other nondisqualifying reason. The written decision that suspended the payment of benefits for the "duration of unemployment" also explains the requirements to requalify for benefits.

There are specific requalifying requirements for the following circumstances.

Domestic: If the applicant quit to marry; to care for a spouse, child(ren), parent(s); or to relocate with his/her spouse to another city, the requalification requirements are not as stringent. Instead, he/she must earn wages in covered employment equal to half of his/her average weekly wage, or $60.00, whichever is less.

Between-terms: The law imposes a special "between-terms" disqualification on certain college and school employees. They cannot be paid benefits for any week of unemployment which begins during the period between two successive academic years or terms.

Between-seasons: Professional athletes cannot receive benefits for weeks of unemployment between two successive sports seasons.

Seasonal: Applicants employed by one "seasonal" employer may receive benefits only if unemployed during the employer's season.

The earliest an unemployment check can be mailed is during the third week of unemployment. The check is issued only if the applicant: met all the eligibility requirements; submitted the first claim card; and met the weekly eligibility requirements.

Ohio law requires that each applicant serve a one-week waiting period after filing an initial claim for unemployment benefits. This is called the "waiting week," and it must be a week in which the applicant met the weekly eligibility requirements.

Applicants must file a claim for benefits for each calendar week of their unemployment.The claim for a week of unemployment is actually a claim for the previous week - not the week in which the applicant appears at the local reporting office or mails the claim form.

Each claim card states how and when the card is to be submitted. If the applicant is to mail it, the words "MAIL ON THIS DATE" appear, along with the exact mailing date. If the applicant is to personally bring it to a local reporting office, "REPORT IN PERSON" followed by the exact date is printed on the card. The instructions must be followed to be sure that benefits are not delayed.

The applicant must be physically able to work, available for work, and, actively seeking work in order to receive benefits. Additionally, the applicant must not refuse a referral to or offer of suitable work (without good reason).

The applicant must be physically "able" to perform work in his/her trade or occupation. If not, the applicant may receive benefits if he/she has submitted medical evidence of his/her ability to do other types of work. If an applicant is ill and unable to work during one or more days of a normal work week, he/she may not be considered "able to work" and may not be entitled to benefits for that week.

The applicant must be "available" to accept suitable work in any occupation that is consistent with his/her prior training and experience. If the applicant restricts the hours, wages, or conditions of employment in a way which limits chances of obtaining suitable work, he/she may not receive benefits for the week being claimed.

If an applicant attends school while collecting unemployment benefits, he/she must tell the agency. A statement will be taken to decide if the applicant is available for work. Usually full-time students are disqualified from receiving benefits, but they may receive them under either of these two special provisions:

  • If the applicant attended school while working and continues the schooling while collecting unemployment benefits; or
  • If the applicant enrolls in a training course approved by the agency and maintains satisfactory progress.

An applicant must seek work in a manner that is usual for his/her occupation. This means doing any or all of the following -- whichever are customary or appropriate for the applicant's type of work.

  • Register for work with the agency's job matching system.
  • Personally contact employers likely to hire workers in that trade or occupation;
  • Utilize the placement services of professional societies;
  • Personally contact one's labor union for work;
  • File applications for employment through employment placement agencies;
  • Answer "help wanted" advertisements in newspapers, magazines, etc.
  • Write letters, when this is a normal or accepted method of obtaining work in the applicant's occupation;
  • Inquire about work opportunities through friends, etc.

Generally, as the length of the unemployment increases the applicant is expected to broaden and intensify efforts to obtain employment.

Each applicant receives "Work Search Instructions" which details his/her specific work search requirements. The applicant must meet the specifications in order to qualify for weekly unemployment compensation benefits. Some applicants must keep a detailed written record of the work search efforts including dates, company name, person contacted, telephone number of that person, whether a written application was taken, and results of that contact. The written record is reviewed whenever the applicant reports to the local reporting office for an eligibility interview.

In considering what is "suitable work," the agency considers factors such as: whether the work is in line with the applicant's prior training and experience; the applicant's health and physical capability to do the work; distance from his/her home to work; and the applicant's prospects of finding work in his/her locality.

Source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Online