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If you become unemployed, you should file a claim immediately. You can file a claim for unemployment compensation benefits at unemployment.ohio.gov, by telephone at 1-877-OHIOJOB (644-6562) Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except holidays), or at any “one stop” office of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Computers are available at one stop centers or local libraries to file a new claim or check an existing claim.

To receive benefits you must:

  • have worked in covered employment
    • your employer has to have paid into the system (not “under the table”)
  • have worked in covered employment for enough time,
    • 20 weeks in the first 4 quarters of the last 5 quarters; or
    • 20 weeks in the last 4 quarters
  • have earned enough weekly wages
    • $222 or more per week for the 20 weeks (for 2012; amount changes often))
  • you must be unemployed for a proper reason
    • were not fired with just cause
    • did not quit without just cause
  • you must be able to work and be actively seeking work.

The Department will contact your employer about your pay and the reason why you left your job. Your employer has a financial reason to dispute your claim. Unemployment insurance premiums are based on how many claims are paid. However, it’s the Department that decides your claim based on the rules. The Department can hold an informal fact finding if your employer disputes your eligibility for benefits.

You will receive two notices of review after you have filed your claim. You must win both to receive benefits:

  1. The Notice of Determination of Benefit Rights (UC-465NF) will review whether your application is valid and whether you have worked enough covered hours. It will state the date your benefit year begins and the weekly amount you may be eligible to receive.
  2. The Determination of Benefits (UC-465F) will state whether your claim for a particular week of benefits is allowed. This review can cover the reason that you became unemployed, whether you had pay attributed to you during the week in question, were available for work, or otherwise were eligible.

APPEALING A DECISION: Reconsideration and Hearing

If you are denied benefits, you can appeal. You only have 21 days from the date the notice was mailed to file a written request for reconsideration. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU APPEAL WITHIN THE TIME PERIOD! If your appeal is late, it is denied.

You must keep looking for work, record job search attempts and follow Department requests during the appeal process.

If you receive benefits, your employer may request reconsideration. You will receive a notice if this happens.

If you lose the reconsideration, you have 21 days from the date of mailing to request a hearing. You must file a written appeal within this time limit.

If your employer appeals from a decision that was in your favor, you will receive a notice. If your employer ultimately wins on appeal, you will have an “overpayment” for any checks you received. You will have to pay the money back. If no fraud is involved, the State has 3 years to recover the money. It is important that you take any appeal by your employer seriously.

APPEAL HEARINGS

After a hearing is requested, you will receive a notice that a hearing has been scheduled before a hearing officer of the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission. Read this notice carefully. This notice will contain the date, time and location of the hearing.

There are two types of hearing: In-person Hearings and Telephone Hearings. You should go to the hearing to present evidence on your own behalf even if you have already received your unemployment checks.

Telephone hearings are conference calls between the hearing officer, the employer and you. The procedure will be explained in your hearing notice. The notice will state the call-in telephone number that you must call for the hearing. If you want an in-person hearing instead of by telephone, you must request it immediately.

You can subpoena witnesses and documents to your hearing. You need to do this well in advance. It is important to fully present your case. If you have evidence or witnesses, this is the time to make sure that evidence gets into your record. However, witnesses who still work for your employer likely want to keep their jobs. Their testimony may or may not help you.

Legal Aid provides representation to eligible clients at the hearing level. Call Legal Aid as soon as you request a hearing and again when you get notice of your hearing.

FURTHER APPEAL

If you lose your hearing, you have 21 days to appeal. File a written Application to Institute Further Appeal with the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission. You must appeal within this time limit.

If you lose, you have thirty days from the mailing date on the Review Commission’s decision to file an appeal in the Court of Common Pleas in your county. If you do not, the decision is final. The court will review the documents and the transcript of the hearing. There is no new hearing. It will only reverse the Commission’s decision if there was an error of law or if a factual finding was against the manifest weight of the evidence. The Court will not ‘second guess’ a Hearing Officer’s factual finding if there was a dispute that could reasonably have gone either way.

For more detailed information, see “Worker’s Guide to Unemployment Compensation” on www.unemployment.ohio.gov

 

 

This article is meant to give you general information and not specific legal advice.
Prepared by Community Legal Aid Services, Inc. Updated April, 2012. CE-72-F227-CLAS

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