Unemployment Compensation in Ohio: Protecting a Critical Safety Net for Working Families and the Economy
September 28, 2004
This report by Policy Matters Ohio and National Employment Law Project finds that Ohio’s unemployment compensation (UC) system provides significant assistance to jobless workers, including a $2 billion net boost to the state’s economy between 2001 and 2003. However, the system has critical shortcomings. Workers in Ohio must earn more than those in almost any other state in order to qualify for UC. A minimum-wage worker working 35 hours weekly and making $9,373 in 2004 is ineligible for benefits in Ohio. The report finds that extending UC eligibility to individuals working at least 20 hours per week and at least 20 weeks per year at the minimum wage or more (roughly $100/week) would expand potential UC eligibility by 352,000 individuals, or an additional 6.8 percent of the total Ohio workforce. The September 2004 report also reviews other obstacles facing part-time workers who apply for UC. It explains how the financing of the system could be improved and makes other recommendations for enhancing this important part of the safety net.