Coronavirus Unemployment Benefits in Ohio FAQ

Get answers to common questions about new unemployment programs for those who have lost work due to COVID-19.

COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits in Ohio FAQ

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1. What are coronavirus unemployment benefits?

2. How do I apply for unemployment if I am out of work due to COVID-19?

3. Can self-employed people and gig workers who have lost work due to COVID-19 collect unemployment?

4. How much will I get in unemployment benefits if I am unemployed due to COVID-19?

5. How long will my benefits last if I am unemployed because of COVID-19?

6. Can I collect unemployment if I was furloughed due to COVID-19?

7. Can I collect unemployment if I am quarantined or have symptoms of COVID-19?

8. Can I collect unemployment if I can’t work because my child’s school or care facility was closed due to COVID-19?

9. Where can I find the latest information on how Ohio is dealing with unemployment claims relating to coronavirus?

1. What are coronavirus unemployment benefits?

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Employment Security Act (the CARES Act) created several new unemployment programs, designed specifically to reach those who have lost work due to COVID-19 and the steps state and local governments have taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus. These programs include:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which makes benefits available to those who wouldn't qualify for traditional unemployment benefits, including the self-employed, gig workers, those who have already used up their state benefits, and those who don't meet the work history eligibility requirement in their state. Learn more about the PUA program in Ohio, including how the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services: Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations will calculate benefits, in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: Unemployment Benefits for Contractors, Gig Workers, and Self-Employed Workers in Ohio
  • Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC), which gives unemployed workers $600 more per week in benefits, whether they are receiving traditional unemployment benefits or pandemic unemployment assistance. This program expires on July 31, 2020. 
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits to those who are still out of work when their state benefits run out. 

2. How do I apply for unemployment if I am out of work due to COVID-19?

You must apply for unemployment benefits at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services: Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations, whether you are out of work due to the coronavirus public health emergency or for any other reason. Even though the new unemployment benefit programs to address COVID-19 job losses are federally funded, they are administered by state unemployment departments.

Because of the huge increase in unemployment claims due to COVID-19, many states are adopting special procedures to apply for benefits, such as schedules that require you to apply on a particular day of the week based on the first letter of your last name. Visit the website of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services: Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations to get the latest information on how to apply; Ohio also has a resource page on coronavirus and unemployment benefits.

3. Can self-employed people and gig workers who have lost work due to COVID-19 collect unemployment?

Most likely, yes. The CARES Act, which Congress passed at the end of March, extends unemployment benefits to those who have lost work due to the coronavirus pandemic but are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits. In normal times, unemployment is available only employees who are out of work through no fault of their own. But the CARES Act extends unemployment to those who are not employees, but instead are in business for themselves as independent contractors, freelancers, gig workers, and the like.

If you fall into one of these groups, you may qualify for up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Learn more about eligibility for PUA and how Ohio will calculate your benefit amount in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

4. How much will I get in unemployment benefits if I am unemployed due to COVID-19?

Everyone who is collecting unemployment will receive an extra $600 per week through the end of July 2020. This benefit is available to anyone in any week when they get even a single dollar in regular unemployment benefits. It doesn’t matter why you are out of work: Whether you lost your job because your workplace closed due to the coronavirus public health emergency or you were laid off for other reasons, you will get the additional $600. This extra money is available to those receiving traditional unemployment benefits and those who are receiving benefits through the new pandemic unemployment assistance program.

To learn more about how Ohio calculates benefit amounts, see How Much Will I Collect in Unemployment Benefits in Ohio.

5. How long will my benefits last if I am unemployed because of COVID-19?

In the CARES Act, Congress extended the duration of unemployment benefits. In normal circumstances, most states offer 26 weeks of benefits (although some are less generous; learn how long benefits last in Ohio). However, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program extends benefits for an extra 13 weeks. So, if you are unemployed when your state benefits run out, you can continue collecting benefits for 13 more weeks.

If you are getting benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (the new federal benefits for gig workers, self-employed workers, and others who would not be eligible for traditional unemployment benefits), you can collect benefits for up to 39 weeks, total.

6. Can I collect unemployment if I was furloughed due to COVID-19?

Many employees have been furloughed – placed on unpaid leave – due to COVID-19 and the state and local measures put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus. You may get unemployment benefits if you are furloughed and not being paid. If you are receiving your usual pay, or you are on paid sick or family leave, however, you will not be eligible.

7. Can I collect unemployment if I am quarantined or have symptoms of COVID-19?

Yes. Many states have changed their rules to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Some states have made workers who are quarantined or ill with COVID-19 eligible for benefits.

At our last check, Ohio announced changes to its unemployment rules to address the increasing numbers of claims relating to the coronavirus pandemic. These changes provide that the following workers, including otherwise eligible self-employed individuals, may receive benefits:

  • employees who contract COVID-19 or need time off to care for a family member who has contracted the virus,
  • employees who are quarantined, whether by a medical professional, local health authority, or their employer,
  • employees who are temporarily laid off, and
  • employees who are laid off or sent home without pay by their employer due to coronavirus concerns. 

And, the waiting period before receiving benefits has been waived.

You can find the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services: Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations's resource page on COVID-19 here, as well as an FAQ on coronavirus and unemployment insurance benefits.

If you don’t qualify for benefits under Ohio’s rules, you will likely qualify under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Those who are out of work because they are quarantined, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have symptoms of COVID-19 and are awaiting a diagnosis, are eligible for these benefits.

8. Can I collect unemployment if I can’t work because my child’s school or care facility was closed due to COVID-19?

Yes. Many states have changed their rules to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. In some states, workers who must stay home to care for children whose school’s or daycare facilities have been closed can collect benefits.

At our last check, Ohio announced changes to its unemployment rules to address the increasing numbers of claims relating to the coronavirus pandemic. These changes provide that the following workers, including otherwise eligible self-employed individuals, may receive benefits:

  • employees who contract COVID-19 or need time off to care for a family member who has contracted the virus,
  • employees who are quarantined, whether by a medical professional, local health authority, or their employer,
  • employees who are temporarily laid off, and
  • employees who are laid off or sent home without pay by their employer due to coronavirus concerns. 

And, the waiting period before receiving benefits has been waived.

You can find the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services: Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations's resource page on COVID-19 here, as well as an FAQ on coronavirus and unemployment insurance benefits.

If you don’t qualify for benefits under Ohio’s rules, you will likely qualify under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provides benefits to those who can’t work because of school or care facility closures.

9. Where can I find the latest information on how Ohio is dealing with unemployment claims relating to coronavirus?

The best place to look is Ohio Department of Job and Family Services: Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations’s website and resource page on COVID-19 and unemployment.

 

 

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