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Federal action, declining jobless rate means less unemployment help for Ohioans

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Jan 16, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Recent federal action and Ohio’s declining unemployment rate will soon trigger a change in the amount of federal unemployment compensation available to Ohioans.

On Jan. 1, Congress passed a bill extending the federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program until Dec. 28, 2013. EUC provides additional weeks of unemployment compensation to residents whose state unemployment compensation expires before they find work.

As the federal government expanded the EUC program during the recession, lawmakers made eligibility for some weeks of benefits contingent on each state’s unemployment rate. After peaking at 10.6 percent during the recession, Ohio’s unemployment rate averaged less than 7 percent in September, October and November. Therefore, the maximum amount of compensation available, including state unemployment compensation, has been decreased from 63 weeks to 54 weeks. The change went into effect Jan. 12.

The EUC program is currently divided into three tiers. Claimants who exhaust their EUC Tier 2 benefits after Jan. 12 will not be eligible for EUC Tier 3 benefits. However, claimants already collecting Tier 3 on that date will be allowed to finish the tier.

Eligible Ohioans now can continue to collect up to 26 weeks of state unemployment compensation and an additional 28 weeks of federal compensation.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is committed to assisting Ohioans who have exhausted all available unemployment compensation but have not yet found employment. Anyone struggling to find work is  strongly encouraged to visit his or her nearest One-Stop Center for help with resume development, career planning, job search skills and more. To find the One-Stop nearest you, call 1-877-US2JOBS.

In addition, www.ohioheretohelp.gov offers valuable resources for unemployed workers in Ohio, such as job search assistance and information about a wide variety of services related to money, food, housing and other topics. Ohioans can also apply for cash assistance, food assistance or Medicaid online at https://odjfsbenefits.ohio.gov.

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