Job & Family Services Unemployment Compensation FAQ's
Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I apply for unemployment benefits?  
Translation Services information
Ohio has two ways to file for unemployment benefits.
The fastest and easiest way is to file online at unemployment.ohio.gov. You can file
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you don’t have access to a computer, visit your
local library or OhioMeansJobs center, where computers are available for public use.
Please note that your local library may be closed or have reduced hours due
to the coronavirus (COVID-19).  A list of OhioMeansJobs centers can be found at:
http://jfs.ohio.gov/owd/wioa/map.stm or call (888) 296-7541.
OR you can file for unemployment benefits by phone Monday through Friday (except
holidays) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. by calling (877) 644-6562 or TTY (614) 387-8408.
For more information, see page 5 of the Worker's Guide to Unemployment.
For step-by-step instructions on how to apply for benefits online, see the How-To Videos

2. What is a Monetary Affidavit?
If you applied for unemployment benefits and receive a Monetary Affidavit, this means more information is needed about your case. The affidavit contains information verified by your former employer(s), including the number of weeks you worked and the amount of wages you earned. Review it carefully. If there are errors or missing wages, enter the correct information in the appropriate boxes. Also gather any verifiable proof of your corrections, such as copies of your W2 or pay stubs. Sign and date the affidavit and return it by the deadline date to either the fax number or the mailing address on the form. Be sure to include the documents that prove your correction was accurate.

For more information, see page 10 of the Worker's Guide to Unemployment.
3. How long does it take for my application to process so I can receive a determination and payment?
You can check the status online by logging into your account at unemployment.ohio.gov. It normally takes 3 to 4 weeks to process your application from the date you apply, but it may take longer if you were employed out of state, if you served in the military, or if you worked for the federal government. 
While your claim is being processed, it will show as “pending.” While you wait for a decision, review your claim instruction sheet. It will list everything you need to do, along with due dates. Be sure to file all weeks starting on the date specified on your instruction sheet. Do not wait until your application is approved. Respond to all requests for information and eligibility questionnaires. If you do not reply in a timely manner, the processing of your claim could be delayed. 

For more information, see page 11 of the Worker's Guide to Unemployment.
4. What does it mean if my claim has “eligibility issues”?
It means more information is needed about your case, possibly because of how you responded to one or more questions on your application or weekly claim. These issues must be resolved before payments can be released.
For more information, see pages 10-11 of the Worker's Guide to Unemployment.
5. Why do you need a copy of a Social Security card for processing my application?
Federal and Ohio law require individuals to furnish their Social Security number when applying for unemployment benefits. Taxpayers have the right to expect, and Ohio has the obligation to ensure, that benefits are properly paid where they should be.

If you suspect unemployment fraud, please report it at unemployment.ohio.gov or by calling (800) 686-1555.

6. Why do I have to seek work if I am returning to my last employer or I have a definite return-to-work date?
In most cases, claimants are required to seek work while receiving unemployment benefits. Your work-search requirement may be waived if you expect to return to work within 45 days AND if your employer verifies this information. It also could be waived if you are enrolled in an approved training or if you’re a member in good standing with a union that refers individuals to jobs.

If your expected return-to-work date is longer than 45 days, your work search will not be waived.

If you are required to seek work, you must register with OhioMeansJobs.com to complete reemployment activities.

For more information, see pages 22-24 of the Worker's Guide to Unemployment.
7. How do I file a weekly claim?
The fastest and easiest way is to log into your account at unemployment.ohio.gov. You can file 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you don’t have access to a computer, visit your local library or OhioMeansJobs center, where computers are available for public use. To find the nearest OhioMeansJobs center, visit OhioMeansJobs.com and click on the icon for OhioMeansJobs centers or call (888) 296-7541.

Or you can file a weekly claim by phone Monday through Friday (except holidays) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling (877) 644-6562 or TTY (888) 642-8203.

For step-by-step instructions on how to file a weekly claim online, see the Weekly Claim Flyer.
8. How do I properly report earnings or income on my claim?
You must answer all questions honestly and correctly. Report any gross (before-tax) earnings for work performed while claiming unemployment benefits. Also report any other income you may have received while claiming unemployment benefits. Report any earnings during the week you earned them, not the week you were paid them. Here’s an example showing how to calculate gross earnings:

10 hours worked X $10 per hour = $100 gross earnings to report on your weekly claim  
For more information, see page 25 of the Worker's Guide to Unemployment.

For step-by-step instructions on how to file a weekly claim online, see the Weekly Claim Flyer.
9. How do I get paid UI benefits? How do I change my direct deposit account?
When you apply for benefits, you can choose how your benefits will be paid to you. If you choose the debit card option, you will receive a Visa branded prepaid card from US Bank approximately 5 to 7 business days after you receive your benefit approval letter. This card is also known as a ReliaCard.
If you choose direct deposit, your payments will automatically be deposited into your personal bank account. You can access them the same as any other funds in your personal account.
If you would like to make changes to your payment method or the direct deposit account that you specified, you can fax or mail a voided check or a statement from your bank showing your account number and routing number. You can fax this information to 1-614-387-7949 or mail it to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Finance Section, PO BOX 182059, Columbus, Ohio 43218-2059. Be sure to include your name, the best telephone number to reach you, and either your claimant ID (found on your ODJFS correspondence) or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on all documents.
For security reasons, you cannot change your banking information over the phone or the internet. For more information, please refer to your Worker’s Guide to Unemployment Insurance. See the “How Payments Will be Made to You” or “Payment Option Changes” sections.

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If you choose to be paid by debit card, you will receive a U.S. Bank ReliaCard Visa, and your payments will be automatically deposited to it. 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 a U.S. Bank or Visa/PLUS® ATM. Find the nearest location at locations.usbank.com/search or 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. 
Q: Will I be charged any fees when I use the U.S. Bank ReliaCard?  A: Click here to see the Fee Schedule.
To report a card lost or stolen, or if you did not receive your card, call US Bank Cardholder Service at (855) 254-9198.
10. How do I file an appeal if I don’t agree with my determination?
If you disagree with any decision made regarding your claim, you should file an appeal and continue to file claims for any weeks you are unemployed. You must file the appeal within 21 days from the date the determination was issued. You can do so online at unemployment.ohio.gov, by fax or by mail to the ODJFS processing center identified on your determination notice. Appeal instructions are listed at the bottom of your determination. If you have questions, call (877) 574-0015 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This number is toll-free.

For more information, see page 30 of the Worker's Guide to Unemployment.
11. How many weeks of unemployment can I receive?
Most claimants can receive a maximum 20 to 26 weeks of benefits during a 12-month period.

12. How do I request a new PIN?
If you believe someone knows your PIN, if you forgot your PIN, or if you want to change your PIN for any reason, you may reset it online at unemployment.ohio.gov. You also may request a new one by calling (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 by providing the email address already on file with ODJFS.

If you enter the PIN incorrectly three times in a row, you must 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 (877) 644-6562 to provide your current email address.

For more information, see page 7 of the Worker's Guide to Unemployment.
13. Why do I have to restart my claim?
You may need to restart your claim if there was a break in filing your weekly claims. This could have happened because:
  • You earned more than your weekly benefit amount
  • You had a week of work followed by a week of no work, regardless of earnings
  • You stopped filing weekly claims for any other reason
    For more information, see page 28 of the Worker's Guide to Unemployment.
    14. What does it mean if my payment is in “pay held” status?
    If your application for benefits was approved previously, and if one or more of your weekly claims is showing as “pay held,” please make sure you have responded to all notices or requests for information.  If you believe you have responded to all notices, please know that it may take up to 7 business days for the information to be reviewed. If additional information is needed, someone from our agency will contact you.

    You can find the number for your processing center on page 38 of the Worker's Guide to Unemployment
    15. How do I upload my resume on OhioMeansJobs.com?
    For step-by-step instructions, see Creating or Uploading a Resume in OhioMeansJobs.com: DESK AID | VIDEO

    When you file an unemployment claim in Ohio, you will automatically be registered with OhioMeansJobs.com, the state’s online career and employment center. Ohio law requires unemployment claimants to maintain a resume and complete reemployment activities on OhioMeansJobs.com. If you received a username and temporary password from us, be sure to log in using them when you complete the reemployment activities.
    By the 8th week of the start of your new claim, you must create or upload a resume on OhioMeansJobs.com and mark it as “active.” When you first apply for benefits, our system will automatically create a partial resume for you. This resume will appear in your OhioMeansJobs backpack. However, making changes to this partial resume does not meet the requirements. This resume is simply an example to get you started. You must create your own more detailed resume. If you’d like, you can use resume building tools at OhioMeansJobs.com or ask for help at your local OhioMeansJob center. To find your nearest OhioMeansJobs center, visit the County Agency Information page or call 1-888-296-7541 for assistance.
    16. How do I complete my career assessment on OhioMeansJobs.com?
    For step-by-step instructions, see Creating a Career Profile in OhioMeansJobs.com: DESK AID | VIDEO

    By the 20th week of your new claim, you must complete a Career Profile Assessment on OhioMeansJobs.com. After answering a few questions about your likes and dislikes, you’ll get a report with a pie chart showing the kinds of work that may suit you best. Then you can search for potential careers based on your results. The assessment will show as “complete” in the unemployment system in about 24 hours.
    We encourage you to complete both your resume and the Career Profile Assessment as soon as possible. You don’t have to wait for the 8th or 20th week. If you return to work and later reopen your claim, these deadline dates will not change. Failure to complete these requirements by the original due dates may cause benefits to be denied. The due dates and instructions are explained in BOLD on your “New Claim Instruction Sheet” and “Additional Claim Instruction Sheet.”
    If you do not have a computer, you can visit your nearest OhioMeansJobs center or public library and use one of the computers there. If you are experiencing problems with OhioMeansJobs.com or your account, please call 1-888-296-7541, option 2, for assistance.
    17. Why can’t I respond to a new message in my unemployment account inbox?
    A red envelope in the section labeled View Correspondence Inbox in your online unemployment account indicates that an important message is waiting for you to review. This message may require you to respond by a deadline. It is very important that you respond before the deadline, or your benefits may be delayed or denied.
    If the deadline has passed, you will not be able to open the message online. You also may not be able to open it if your processing center has already addressed the issue. In some cases, if you responded in writing, online or by phone, you will no longer be able to open it. It will remain as a red envelope.
    If the due date has passed, and you have additional information to provide, please return to the main menu or call the processing center listed on your new claim instruction sheet.
    18. How do I notify the agency that I have returned to work full time or no longer need unemployment benefits?
    Simply stop filing weekly claims. If you become unemployed again or wish to file for unemployment later, you can do so at unemployment.ohio.gov or by calling (877) 644-6562.
    19. I received a notice that I was overpaid benefits. How can I pay back this overpayment?
    You can repay your overpayment online by credit card or bank draft or by sending a check or money order by mail. For more information, visit the Repay Overpayment page. 

    20. I exhausted my benefits, and I haven’t yet found a job. Can I get an extension?
    Currently, no federal or state extended benefits are available. However, here are some other sources of help:

    If you’re looking for a job, visit OhioMeansJobs.com.
    To apply for cash, food or child care assistance, visit jfs.ohio.gov.
    To apply for Medicaid, visit Ohio Benefits.
    For information about the Women, Infants and Children program, visit the Ohio Department of Health.
    If you need assistance with housing, visit the Ohio Housing Finance Agency or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
    For help paying your home heating bills, visit the Ohio Development Services Agency.
    For help paying your telephone bill, visit the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio
    21. How does my union membership affect my unemployment claim?
    If you are a member in good standing and are required to seek work through your union hiring hall, you may be waived from certain reemployment activities and may not be required to seek work outside your union. To receive a waiver, we must receive verification of your union status from your union representative. Once we process your verification, you will receive new instructions in your correspondence inbox when you log into your unemployment account. Please read the notice carefully.
    If the verification shows that you are a member in good standing of a union with a hiring hall, your weekly claim questions will update in about a week to reflect your union status.
    If you fail to provide verification from your union, your work search activities will not be updated, and you will be required to complete at least two work search activities each week. You also will be required to complete your OhioMeansJobs.com reemployment activities by the designated due dates.
    22. How do I email or fax something to ODJFS, or how do I know if ODJFS received my fax or email?
    Our fax number is 1-614-466-7449. When faxing to us, please include your full name and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Please allow 2 business days before contacting our office to confirm it was received.
    If you are sending non-confidential attachments, another option is email. Do not email any confidential information, such as your Social Security number or sensitive medical information. The email address is UI_Respond@jfs.ohio.gov. Please use your claimant ID number as the subject line. Your claimant ID is not your Social Security number. Your claimant ID number is printed on all the documents you’ve received from us. It is usually at the top of the form, next to your name and Social Security Number.
    23. Why didn't I receive a payment for the first week of my new claim?
    Ohio law requires claimants to serve a waiting period after filing an initial application. This “waiting week” is the first week claimed in the benefit year in which you meet all eligibility requirements. Benefits cannot be paid for the waiting week.