Unemployment compensation is a program designed to help meet the financial needs of Ohioans who become unemployed through no fault of their own. It pays you half of your average weekly wage, up to a maximum amount depending on your number of dependents. You can use unemployment compensation to pay bills, buy groceries or pay medical or other household expenses while you seek new employment. However, certain rules determine whether you're eligible for unemployment compensation in Ohio.
Reason for Unemployment
The reason for loss of employment is a factor in whether you're eligible for unemployment compensation. If you were laid off for lack of work or because your employer shut down, you meet the reason for unemployment requirements for Ohio unemployment compensation. Quitting your job voluntarily typically disqualifies you unless you quit for a valid reason, such as the employer's refusal to provide a safe working environment to meet the terms of your hiring agreement. Termination for just cause also typically disqualifies you, unless you were terminated for refusing to perform duties that violated legal or moral standards, or duties that endangered your health.
The length of time you worked before losing your job is also a factor for Ohio unemployment compensation eligibility. You must have worked for 20 weeks during the "base period" applicable to the start date of your unemployment claim. The base period typically ends about three months before your unemployment claim. For example, if you file a claim for unemployment benefits between January 2 and April 2, the base period is the 12-month period ending September 30 of the previous year. The weeks of work don't have to be consecutive; however, all weeks of employment must have been for a covered employer — that is, an employer that pays contributions for unemployment insurance.
Alternate Base Period
If the weeks you worked don't fall within the base period, or your earnings during your weeks of work during the base period don't meet the minimum income requirements, Ohio permits an alternate base period. The alternate base period is the 12-month period ending the day before your claim filing period. For example, if you file an unemployment claim between January 2 and April 2, the alternate base period is the 12-month period ending January 1.
Average Weekly Wage
You must have met minimum income requirements to be eligible for unemployment compensation in Ohio. As of June 2011, an average weekly wage of $215 during your base period is the minimum earnings amount to establish eligibility. However, the minimum average earnings amount changes each year.