Job & Family Services Unemployment Compensation FAQ's
In order to best protect confidential and other important data, the ODJFS website will no longer support several outdated web browsers. Effective December 5, Internet Explorer 6 or older, Opera 4 or older and Netscape Navigator will no longer work on ODJFS sites that are https-enabled. Individuals can download the most recent version of Internet Explorer here and the most recent version of Opera here.
Getting Payments
In order to best protect confidential and other important data, the ODJFS website will no longer support several outdated web browsers. Effective December 5, Internet Explorer 6 or older, Opera 4 or older and Netscape Navigator will no longer work on ODJFS sites that are https-enabled. Individuals can download the most recent version of Internet Explorer here and the most recent version of Opera here.

How do I file a weekly claim?
After you file your initial claim for benefits, you must continue to file ongoing claims for benefits. For each week claimed, you must answer several questions. Your answers will determine whether you are eligible for benefit payment for that week. Answer all questions honestly. Ohio law imposes penalties, including fines and/or imprisonment, for fraud. If you do not file a "timely" claim for benefits, you will not be paid for that week.
Claimants are strongly encouraged to file online at unemployment.ohio.gov. To access your claim online, you will enter your user name (Social Security number) and Personal Identification Number (PIN). The weekly claim application will include space to enter your weekly job contact information. This website is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, those with no ability to access the internet may call (877) 644-6562 for assistance.
If you do not have access to the internet, you may visit your local library or OhioMeansJobs center where computers are available for public use.  A list of OhioMeansJobs centers can be found at http://jfs.ohio.gov/owd/wioa/map.stm.  

Why do I need a Personal Identification Number (PIN)?
In order for ODJFS to keep your benefits information secure and maintain your confidentiality, you must choose a PIN. The first time you file an application, you will be given a temporary PIN. You then will be required to create your own PIN, which you will use to access your claim online. You also will be asked to provide an answer to a “hint” question. Write down both your PIN and hint answer and keep them in a safe place. You are responsible for the security of your PIN. It will be your electronic signature and has the same legal authority as your signature on a paper document.

Do not give your PIN to anyone, not even an ODJFS unemployment benefits representative. You are responsible for all claims filed and all information given to this department using your PIN and Social Security number. It is against the law to allow someone else to use your PIN to file for benefits. 

How do I request a new PIN?
If you believe someone knows your PIN, if you forget your PIN or if you want to change your PIN for any reason, you may reset it online at www.unemployment.ohio.gov. You also may request a new one by calling 1-877-644-6562 or your assigned processing center.

Remember, even if you forget or lose your PIN, you still may access your claim by entering your user name and correctly answering the PIN hint question or providing the email address already on file with ODJFS.

If you enter the PIN incorrectly three times in a row, you will be required to reset it. You can reset your PIN and immediately receive the new PIN if you have an email address on file with ODJFS. If you do not have an email address on file with ODJFS, the new PIN will be sent by U.S. mail.

If you would like to receive your new PIN immediately but do not have an email address on file, or if your email address changed since you last filed, please call 1-877-644-6562 to provide your current email address. 

When should I file an unemployment claim?
You can file either weekly or biweekly (every two weeks). You may file weekly claims for the first three weeks after your initial unemployment application. After the first three weeks, you can continue to file claims weekly only if you choose to have correspondence sent to you electronically instead of via U.S. mail. If you do NOT choose to receive correspondence electronically, you will be switched to a biweekly schedule. Instructions for requesting electronic correspondence are included on your "New Claim Instruction Sheet."          

There are time limitations for filing weekly claims. You must file for benefits for a week of unemployment no later than three weeks (21 days) after the ending date of the week being claimed. Claims for benefits filed beyond this time limit will be disallowed unless you can establish that the late filing was for reasons beyond your control. 

What information do I need to file a weekly or biweekly claim?
A calendar is useful. You will be reporting for the calendar week from Sunday through Saturday.

Information about where you searched for work during the week, including each employer's name and address, how you applied for work, type of work, date of contact, and outcome of each contact.

Records of any days you worked from Sunday through Saturday of that week, including the amount earned for that week. You need to report all earnings, even if you have not yet been paid.

How will I receive my payments?
ODJFS offers two methods of payment for unemployment benefits.

When you file your application, you can choose to have benefits paid by direct deposit (to your checking or savings account) or by debit card. You can receive benefits by direct deposit whether you file on a weekly or biweekly basis. For direct deposit, you must provide your bank's name, complete address, routing number and your account number.
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If you do not select direct deposit, you will be paid by a U.S. Bank ReliaCard Visa debit card. You already qualify for this prepaid Visa card - no credit check or bank account is required. Your payments will be automatically deposited to the card. You can use the money on the ReliaCard Visa for purchases everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. You also can withdraw cash from the ReliaCard at banks displaying the Visa logo or from the U.S. Bank or Visa/PLUS® ATM. ATM withdrawals at U.S. Bank or MoneyPass ATMs are free. Other banks will charge a fee. Find the nearest location at www.usbank.com/locate or www.MoneyPass.com. ODJFS can transfer unemployment benefits only to U.S. Bank ReliaCard reloadable debit cards. It cannot transfer benefits to any other type of credit or debit card. 

Note: ODJFS does not guarantee a certain day of the week when payments will be available to you. Furthermore, no federal or state law requires ODJFS to refund costs associated with writing bad checks. Therefore, the agency will not repay overdraft charges if you write a check with insufficient funds in your account. It is up to you to make sure there is enough money in your account before writing a check.

How do I change my direct deposit bank account information?
If at any time you need to change your direct deposit bank account information, you will need to fax a voided check or a letter from your financial institution with the bank account information to 614-387-7949. This information can also be mailed to:

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
Attn: Program Services, Finance Section
P.O. Box 182059
Columbus, OH 43218-2059

For faster processing, please include the last four digits of your Social Security number on all faxes or letters.

How will correspondence be sent to me?
When filing your application, you can choose how you want ODJFS to send you all notices and determinations about your unemployment account. You will receive all correspondence by U.S. mail unless you choose to receive correspondence electronically, within your online account. If you wish to file and receive benefits weekly instead of biweekly (every two weeks), you must choose to receive correspondence by email.

If you choose to receive your correspondence electronically, within your online account, an email will notify you when new correspondence has been posted. You may then log in to your online account to view your correspondence. Whether you select U.S. mail or email, you may still access and respond online to all correspondence sent to you.

Even after choosing U.S. mail as your primary contact option, you can ask to receive notices by email. Just access your claim online or call your processing center. To make this choice online at www.unemployment.ohio.gov, go to the Main Menu and choose "Update Personal Information."

How do I have federal income tax and/or child support withheld?
Federal income tax withholding: Unemployment benefits are taxable, and you must report them to the IRS. When you file your application, you will be asked if you would like federal taxes withheld from your check at the rate of 10 percent. For tax-filing purposes, ODJFS will send you a 1099 form by January 31 of the year after you were paid benefits. To learn more about estimated taxes and how to pay them, contact the IRS.10

Child support payment withholding: The law requires that child support payments be deducted from unemployment benefits when certain conditions are met. For example, they must be withheld when ODJFS receives a withholding order from a child support enforcement agency that administers Part D of Title IV of the Social Security Act.

If you are required to pay child support to a child support enforcement agency, and ODJFS has not received an order to withhold these payments, you may choose to have child support withheld from your benefit payments. You may make this choice at any time after filing your initial application by calling your processing center. Any choice will be canceled if ODJFS receives a withholding order.  

If you have a child support order in Ohio and you have encountered a lay-off or plant closing, you may already qualify to have your child support case reviewed and adjusted.  For more information, visit the Ohio Office of Child Support website at: http://jfs.ohio.gov/Ocs/index.stm 

What if I have a change in my status?
It is important that you keep your unemployment benefit records current. Remember to notify ODJFS immediately of any changes or corrections related to your benefit account, such as changes to your personal information (such as your address or phone number), previously reported earnings or work status. 

What if I receive a notice of overpayment of benefits?
If you receive benefits that you are not entitled to, you will receive a notice that explains:  

  • Why the payment was incorrect or disallowed.
  • Which weeks were paid incorrectly.
  • The amount of the incorrect payment(s).
  • Any penalties, if fraud was involved.

WARNING: If your application for benefits or a weekly claim is canceled due to fraud, you will be charged with two “penalty weeks” for every one week determined fraudulent, in addition to the amount you must pay due to the overpayment. ODJFS also may pursue criminal charges for acts of unemployment benefit fraud.

Click here for instructions on how to repay an overpayment.

Overpayments not repaid in full within 66 days of the determination date may be referred to the Ohio Attorney General’s office for collection, including offset of your state or federal tax returns.

You must repay all incorrectly paid benefits and serve all penalty weeks charged. Any overpayment not repaid or penalty weeks not served will result in ODJFS withholding weekly payments that you are otherwise entitled to, until the overpaid amount has been repaid and all the penalty weeks have been served.

If you believe that you were not overpaid, or that the amount of the overpayment is incorrect, you must file an appeal within 21 days of the date the overpayment determination was issued.