Job & Family Services Unemployment Compensation FAQ's
Unemployment Compensation FAQ's
Establishing Eligibility for Unemployment Compensation Benefits
  
Definitions:
  
How do I establish eligibility? 
  To qualify for unemployment benefits, the following four key factors must be met:
  • You are totally or partially unemployed at the time you file your application. If you performed no service for your employer, and no earnings or income are payable to you during the week you apply for benefits, you are totally unemployed. If your employer lets you go before the end of your usual work week, or reduces your work 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. If you worked for more than one covered employer during the base period, you may still be eligible. Each of these 20 weeks is called a qualifying week.

    If you file your application during 2014, you must have an average weekly wage (before taxes or other deductions) of at least $233 during the base period. This amount changes each year and applies to the year in which you file your application - not the year in which you worked.

    The average weekly wage is determined by dividing your total wages for all qualifying weeks in the base period by the total number qualifying weeks. For example: If you had $32,000 in total wages and 32 qualifying weeks, then $32,000 divided by 32 = $1,000 average weekly wage.
      
  • You are unemployed through no fault of your own. For example, if you quit your recent job with good reason (as defined by the law) or if the employer fired you without good cause, that would be considered "no fault of your own." Be sure to give complete and accurate information about why you are no longer working.
                  
  • If you had a prior benefit account, you reestablished yourself as a worker by performing enough work since the prior account began. Since the regular base period reaches back so far, it does not use the weeks and wages that occur immediately before you file your application. These weeks and wages could later be part of a second benefit year's alternative base period. Federal and state laws require that an individual work and earn wages after the beginning of the first benefit year in order to restablish "worker" status for future benefit applications. Ohio requires that you work six weeks in covered employment and earn three times the average weekly wage of the prior benefit year in order to be eligible for a second account.
 
What is covered employment? 
Most employers are required to pay unemployment insurance taxes to ODJFS throughout the year (even if none of their workers are claiming unemployment benefits). Some other employers, such as certain nonprofit or government agencies, must pay ODJFS back for the cost of unemployment benefits paid to their former workers. Work for such employers is called "covered employment" because it is covered by unemployment insurance. However, not all work is covered employment. For example, if you worked for a small family business or religious organization, the employment may not be covered.  
     
What is a calendar quarter?
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
        
What is the base period 
Only the weeks worked and the wages paid during a set base period may be used to qualify for unemployment benefits. Ohio offers a "regular" base period and an "alternate" base period. A base period divides the year into four quarters of three months each.

The regular base period is the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters, before your benefit account begins.

If your claim begins between these dates: Your regular base period will be:
January 5, 2014 through April 5, 2014 October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013
April 6, 2014 through July 5, 2014 January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013
July 6, 2014 through October 4, 2014 April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014
October 5, 2014 through January 3, 2015 July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014

If you worked less than the minimum number of weeks (20 weeks), or if your average weekly wage was less than the set minimum earnings (for 2014, $233) within the regular base period, then the alternate base period may be used.

The alternate base period is the last four completed calendar quarters before your benefit account begins. The altnernate base period may be used only if you do not qualify for benefits using the regular base period.

If your claim begins between these dates: Your alternate base period will be:
January 5, 2014 through April 5, 2014 January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2013
April 6, 2014 through July 5, 2014 April 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014
July 6, 2014 through October 4, 2014 July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014
October 5, 2014 through January 3, 2015 October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014