Job & Family Services Unemployment Compensation FAQ's
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Filing an Application for Benefits
When should I file an application for benefits?    
   You should file your application for unemployment benefits as soon as you become unemployed.  Your claim will begin the Sunday of the calendar week in which your application is filed. Waiting more than a week to apply will delay the start of your claim, and no benefits will be paid for weeks of unemployment that pass before the week you file. Even if you need to serve the required waiting week or you are receiving separation pay from your employer, do not wait to file your application for unemployment benefits.
How do I apply?    
  To file a new application for Ohio unemployment benefits, or to restart an existing Ohio claim, you can:
  • File online at for immediate claim service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Service may be limited while the system is being updated nightly. If you do not have access to a computer, visit your local library or OhioMeansJobs Center where computers are available for public use. A list of OhioMeansJobs Centers can be found at
  • File by telephone at 1-877-OHIOJOB (1-877-644-6562). You may call between 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday  through Friday (except holidays). Peak call times are Monday and Friday. For faster service call on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, or file online. When you call, please be sure to have paper and a pencil ready. If you do not have access to a touch-tone phone, you may stay on the line to speak with a customer service representative. For TTY service, call1-888-642-8203.

IMPORTANT: When applying online, the information you enter will be kept for 24 hours from the time you begin the new application. Your application is not considered "filed" until you receive a confirmation number. Keep this deadline in mind if you are disconnected or if you choose to sign off and sign on again at a later time.

What information do I need when I apply?    
  Have the following information ready when you file a new application:
  • Your Social Security number and either your driver's license or state ID number.
  • Your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address.
  • The name, address, telephone number and dates you worked with each employer during the past six weeks of employment. If you were on assignment from a temporary placement agency (often called a "temp" agency), the temp agency - not the employer they assigned to you - is the employer you need to identify.
  • If you had out-of-state employment in the last 18 months, the name, address, telephone number, and dates you worked for each out-of-state employer.
  • If you were separated from military service with any branch of the U.S. armed forces in the last 18 months, your discharge papers (form DD-214, member 4).
  • If you were employed by the federal government in the last 18 months, the SF-8 or SF-50 form given to you by your government employer at the time of your separation.
  • The reason you became totally or partially unemployed from each employer.
  • If you have dependents, their names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth.
  • If claiming dependents and you are married, your spouse's name, Social Security number (even if you do not claim your spouse). 
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen or national, your alien registration number and the expiration date of your work authorization.
  • Your regular occupation and job skills.

NOTE: For unemployment applications, the definition of "dependent" child or spouse is different from the definition used for income tax purposes. For more information: Who qualifies as an allowable dependent?


What about false statements and how to report fraud?        
  ODJFS aggressively pursues any acts of fraud committed against the unemployment insurance program. These sources are:
  • New hire reports from employers.
  • Matches with employer's covered wages.
  • Public tips by telephone, mail, fax, or internet.
  • Cross-matches with other government records (e.g., Worker's Compensation or Child Support).

Ohio law imposes penalties, including fines and/or imprisonment, for fraud. Deliberately giving false information in order to receive benefits is a crime. It's not worth the risk! Avoid possible criminal prosecution and stiff penalties by reporting your earnings and all other information honestly and accurately.
Ohio has a toll-free hotline for reporting suspected fraud, such as someone claiming benefits to which they are not entitled. Call 1-800-686-1555 or go to            

How do I claim a dependent child?    
  A child, stepchild, or adopted child is allowed as a dependent if both of the following two conditions are met.
1) The child is under 18 at the beginning date of the benefit year, or if the child is 18 or older and unable to work because of a permanent mental or physical disability.
2) You have paid more than half the cost of the child's support for the 90-day period before the beginning date of your benefit year (or for the length of the parental relationship, if less than 90 days).
Claiming children as dependents will not be allowed if your spouse has filed for unemployment within the past year and has received an increased weekly amount because he or she claimed the same dependents.
How do I claim a dependent spouse?    
  A spouse is allowed as a dependent if he or she has been your spouse for at least 90 days before your benefit year beginning date (or for the length of the marital relationship, if it has existed for less than 90 days) and he or she meets the following four conditions.
1) Is legally married to you.
2) Lives with you.
3) Had income less than 25 percent of your base period average weekly wage.
4) Had more than 50 percent of his or her support provided by you.
How long will it take to apply? 
  Whether you apply online or by telephone, the process will take about 20-25 minutes. If you are online and need to stop before you finish the application, you can log back in later - within 24 hours from the time you started - and continue where you left off. Your application is not considered "filed" until you receive a confirmation number.
May a claim for unemployment benefits be restarted?

If you stop submitting claims for your weekly benefits or if you earned more than your weekly benefit amount, you may need to file to restart your claim.
To restart your claim, access your account online at or call 1-877-OHIO-JOB (1-877-644-6562) during the first week you are unemployed or have gross earnings less than your weekly benefit amount. If you wait more than seven days to restart your claim, you may lose benefits for any weeks of unemployment that occur before that date.

What information do I need to restart my claim?

You will need to have the following when applying to restart a claim:

  • Your Social Security number and your driver’s license or state ID number. 
  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address. 
  • The name, address, telephone number and dates you worked with each employer since you last claimed benefits.
  • Your reason for being unemployed.

If you restart your claim online, you also will need your PIN.

May an applicant file a claim outside of Ohio?     
  If your base period employment was in Ohio, but you live in and are seeking work in a state other than Ohio, your unemployment claim will be an "Ohio interstate claim."
If you have worked in more than one state during your base period, you may qualify for unemployment by combining wages from those states. To establish a "combined wage claim," you must apply for benefits with one of the states where your base period wages were reported.