Health and Public Benefits

Unemployment benefits

If you live in Ohio and have lost your job, you may be able to receive cash assistance through Ohio's unemployment insurance program. Read more to find out if you might be eligible and how to apply. 

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Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

If you live in Ohio and have lost your job, you may be able to get cash assistance through Ohio's unemployment program. See the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' (ODJFS) unemployment tool to estimate the amount of money you could get based on your old wages. 

The length of your benefits will depend on your work history. It will also depend on how long you stay unemployed.

Eligibility for unemployment benefits

To qualify for unemployment, you must: 

  • Be unemployed "through no fault of your own." This means that if you quit or were fired for "just cause," it is likely that you will not be able to get unemployment benefits. If you were laid-off or the business you worked for closed, it will likely count as being unemployed "through no fault of your own." 
  • Have worked at least 20 weeks and earned enough money at a "covered" employer during the "base period" of your claim. 
    • A "covered employer" means that you worked for a business that pays unemployment taxes to the state. Most employers are "covered," but some, like small family businesses or religious organizations, might not be.
    • Your "base period" is a year-long period that starts at a certain time in the last year based on the date that you are applying for unemployment. See the base periods for 2019 here. 
    • You must have earned an average of at least $261 per week.
    • If you have gotten unemployment benefits before, you must have worked at a new job that meets all the requirements above since you stopped receiving benefits.

Applying for unemployment benefits

You can apply for unemployment benefits online at the ODFJS website or by phone at 1 (887) 644-6562. When you apply you will need:

  • Your Social Security number and driver's license or state ID number
  • The name, address, phone number of your employer(s) in the last six weeks
  • The dates you worked there and the reason you became unemployed from each job
  • The Social Security numbers and dates of birth for your dependents  
  • If you recently worked out of state or for the federal government, or you are not a US citizen, you may have to provide more information.

Filing weekly claims

If your application is approved, you need to turn in weekly claims. ODJFS will send you a "New Claim Instruction Sheet," which will explain how and where to submit your weekly claims. It will take at least three weeks, maybe more, for your first claim to be paid after you start filing. Keep filing your weekly claims during this waiting period. You will not be paid for weeks that you don't submit your claim on time. 

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