“Unemployment benefits”, as they are commonly known, are essentially payouts under a state unemployment insurance program, designed to partially replace the wages you were making before you lost your job, in most cases for a period of up to 26 weeks.
Since individual states administer unemployment insurance, the rules vary somewhat from state to state. In Ohio, the limit is 26 weeks, and you receive 50 percent of your employment wages up to a maximum of $480 per week (possibly more if you have children dependents).
How to Qualify for Benefits
Although state rules differ slightly, under Ohio law, to qualify for unemployment benefits:
- You must have worked at least 20 weeks during your one-year “base period.”;
- You must have earned an average of at least $269 per week (as of 2020);
- You must be unemployed through no fault of your own (you cannot have quit your job without good reason, and you cannot have been fired for good cause);
- You must be able to work;
- You must be available for work; and
- You must be actively looking for work.
Coronavirus-related Expansion of Unemployment Benefits (The CARES Act)
Under the CARES Act, eligible unemployed persons can receive:
- Up to an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits until July 31, 2020;
- Up to an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits (this means a total of 39 weeks in Ohio and most other states); and
- Certain unemployment benefits if you are self-employed or are a “gig” worker.
Remember, all of these benefits are added to whatever your state’s unemployment insurance program provides.