Unemployment Compensation: You Must Make More to Qualify in 2005

December 9, 2004
   

An Ohio minimum-wage worker who works 36 hours a week every week during 2005 will not qualify for unemployment compensation. That will be the result of the eligibility requirements for 2005 just released by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services. Under a formula that ties eligibility to the state average weekly wage, workers will have to average at least $186 a week over a minimum of 20 weeks, up from $181 this year.

Ohio’s earnings test is among the highest of any state in the country. It means that a worker may earn as much as $9600 next year and not be eligible for benefits.

A study released earlier this year by National Employment Law Project and Policy Matters Ohio examined what would happen if Ohio’s requirements were changed so that those making at least $100 a week for 20 weeks would qualify for benefits. It found that an additional 352,000 individuals, or 6.8 percent of the state’s workforce, would potentially be eligible should they become unemployed (a copy of the study is available at http://www.policymattersohio.org/ucompohio.htm)

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