Ohio employees who have been terminated from their employment should act immediately for unemployment benefits. During these times with the Coronavirus this is more important than ever before.
Who is eligible for unemployment?
To qualify for unemployment, four factors must be met:
- You must be “totally” or “partially” unemployed at the time you file your application. “Totally” unemployed means you performed no services for your employer and no income or benefits are payable to you during the week you apply for benefits. “Partially” unemployed means that if your employer lets you go before the end of your usual work week, or reduces your hours to less than your full-time work week and you earn less than the unemployment weekly benefit amount, you may be “partially unemployed” and eligible for benefits.
- You worked enough weeks and earned enough money in “covered” employment during the “base period” of your claim. You must have worked at least 20 weeks in covered employment during the base period. While most employers are considered covered employers, not all work is covered employment. For example, if you worked for a small family business or religious organization then the employment may not be covered. Also, for 2020 claims, you must have an average weekly wage (before taxes or other deductions) of at least $269. The base period can be complicated to explain, but Ohio provides a regular base period and an alternative base period which are timeframes in which you must have worked at least 20 weeks and met the wage requirement.
- You are unemployed through no fault of your own. For example, if you quit your recent job with good reason or if the employer fired you without good cause then that would be considered no fault of your own. “Unemployed” can be established through several ways. Lack of work (such as being laid off, job being abolished, the business closed, or the plant shut down) or quitting your job due to just cause (such as the employer failing to satisfy their end of the employment agreement, employer’s violation of safety standards, or the employer’s violation of legal or moral standards) are two ways this can be shown. However, if you are discharged or fired for just cause (such as violating company rules, poor work performance, or neglected your responsibilities) or you have taken a leave of absence or disciplinary layoff, or are on strike then you would not be eligible for unemployment benefits.
- If you had a prior benefit account, you reestablished yourself as a worked by performing enough work since the prior account began. If you had a prior unemployment claim, in order to file a new claim you must have worked at least six weeks between the two claims and you must have earned a total of three times the average weekly wage you earned before filing the previous claim.
What information is needed to file a claim?
- Your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, social security number, driver’s license or state ID number.
- Your regular occupation and job skills.
- Name, address, telephone number, and dates of employment with each employer you worked for during the past 6 weeks.
- The reason you became unemployed from each employer.
- Dependents’ names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth.
- If claiming dependents, your spouse’s name, Social Security number, and birth date.
- If you are not a U.S. citizen or national, alien registration number and expiration date.
- If you had out-of-state employment, have worked for the federal government, or are separated from military service, more information is required, including: Form DD-214, member 4 copy (for military service), and SF-8 or SF-50 form (for federal government employment).
How long do benefits last?
Benefits last up to a maximum of between 20 and 26 weeks depending on the number of qualifying weeks in your base period. To maintain your benefits, you must file weekly claims to show that you are able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work.
How much is my weekly benefit amount?
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (“ODJFS”) has a useful benefits estimator located here: http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/uiben/
How do you file a claim?
You may file a new application for Ohio unemployment benefits, or restart an existing claim, by calling 1-877-OHIO-JOB (1-our office) between 8 A.M and 5 P.M. Monday-through Friday. You can also file online, which is available 24/7, at https://unemployment.ohio.gov/
What do you do if your claim is rejected?
After filing for unemployment benefits, ODJFS, after reviewing information from your employer, will make a determination about your eligibility for benefits. If you are initially denied unemployment benefits, you have 21 calendar days to submit a written appeal of this decision. This appeal may be either mailed in or submitted electronically through ODJFS’s website. ODJFS then has 21 days once the appeal is submitted to either issue a redetermination or refer the appeal to the Unemployment Compensation Review Committee.
If ODJFS issues a redetermination that is not in your favor then you have 21 days to submit an appeal to the Unemployment Compensation Review Committee. Once the appeal has been filed you will receive notice with a date and time for your hearing. Although this hearing can be done in person if necessary, it is often done over the phone.
If this hearing is unsuccessful, you can request a review of that decision by the Unemployment Compensation Review Committee. The Unemployment Compensation Review Committee may deny this request or conduct a review. This review can either just be a review of the evidence already in the record or hold a further hearing. Finally, if this appeal is unsuccessful then it can be appealed to the court system.
Why should I get a lawyer involved?
Your hearing before the Unemployment Compensation Review Committee is the critical stage in your quest for unemployment benefits. You attorney can issue subpoenas, request your ODJFS file, submit exhibits, cross-examine witnesses, and help you prepare your testimony for the hearing. We can also help you streamline your claim to present it in a clear and concise manner. The attorneys at Rittgers & Rittgers are happy to assist you in this process. Feel free to give us a call at 513-496-0134 for a free consultation.