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Expanded Eligibility: Frequently Asked Questions

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Expanded Eligibility

To be eligible for PUA, the individual must NOT be eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Additionally, individuals must meet one of the following circumstances:

  • The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or is experiencing symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis;
  • A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • The individual is providing care for a family member or member of the household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency, and the school or care is required for the individual to work;
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a COVID-19 quarantine;
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because a healthcare professional has advised him or her to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
  • The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • The individual has quit his/her job as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • The individual was laid off as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19

There is no minimum income requirement for PUA.

If you work as an independent contractor with reportable income, you may qualify for PUA benefits if you are unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited your ability to continue performing your customary work activities, and has forced you to stop working.
No, you must continue claiming weeks in the regular unemployment program until your overpayment is resolved.
It’s possible. For detailed guidance on this subject, please click here.
You may be if you filed weekly claims for unemployment benefits because of COVID-19 at any time from July 26 through September 5, 2020. These supplemental payments are available to recipients of regular unemployment benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Trade benefits, SharedWork Ohio benefits or extended unemployment benefits. Because of federal funding limitations, Lost Wages supplements are available for these six weeks only. For more information, click here.

You may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which is offered through the federal CARES Act. To be eligible for PUA, you must not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits. Additionally, you must meet one of the following circumstances:

  • The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or is experiencing symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis;
  • A member of the individual's household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • The individual is providing care for a family member or member of the household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency, and the school or care is required for the individual to work;
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a COVID-19 quarantine;
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because a healthcare professional has advised him or her to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns;
  • The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • The individual has quit his/her job as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • The individual was laid off as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • The individual's place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19

PUA Application Process

To apply for the PUA program, visit pua.unemployment.ohio.gov and click the button that says "Click Here to Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance."

Before you begin the PUA application process, please be sure to collect the following documents and information.

  • Social security number, date of birth and driver’s license or state ID number
  • Name, address, telephone number, and valid email address
  • Name, address, telephone number and dates of employment for 2019
  • Reason for unemployment
  • Dependent information (Spouse or Children), including social security number and date of birth
  • Banking information for direct deposit
  • 2019 tax return, if available

The PUA program does not require proof of employment, but if you would like to request more than the minimum $189 payment, you must provide documentation of your most recent earnings. Acceptable documents include 1099 forms, W-2 forms, recent pay stubs or vouchers, earnings statements (reflecting profit and loss), recent bank records showing payroll direct deposit, or a 2019 tax return.

In most cases, if you believe you meet the eligibility requirements for the PUA program, you do not need to wait to be denied in the traditional unemployment program. You may file for PUA even you have an appeal for regular unemployment in process or you’re still waiting on your determination for regular unemployment.

No, you do not need to have first been denied for regular unemployment in order to apply for PUA.

The only reason to appeal a denial of regular unemployment benefits is if you believe the decision was made in error.

We have partnered with Experian in order to verify your identity and speed up the time for you to receive your payments. This is NOT a credit inquiry. If you select "I Disagree," you may continue submitting your claim, but it will cause a delay of several weeks for both your eligibility determination and any benefits you may be owed. In addition, you will be required to submit documents to prove your identity.

It could be any of several reasons.

It's possible that you weren't denied for PUA but are being directed back to the regular unemployment program to determine your eligibility for other benefits, based on your answers to the opening questions. If you are eligible for regular unemployment benefits, you must apply for them first, including any extended benefit programs.

It's also possible that you were not eligible in the previous quarter, but in the current quarter, you now qualify for regular unemployment benefits.

In addition, the new system is not allowing some individuals to apply for PUA if they are monetarily eligible for regular unemployment benefits but were denied for other reasons and meet PUA eligibility criteria. The system also has incorrectly denied some individuals who were serving penalty weeks in the regular unemployment program. We are aware of this issue, and are working to resolve it. If you believe you were denied for any of these reasons, please call the PUA Call Center at (833) 604-0774.

To ensure the security of your data. If you wish, after your application has been submitted, you can log in to your account, select the "View and Maintain Account Information" tab on the left side of the screen, and change your payment preference there.
The PUA system uses email communication to provide timely requests for more information and other updates. A future enhancement will allow for paper communication. In the meantime, we encourage you to consider setting up a free email account for this purpose.
If you can't provide the number of weeks you worked in each quarter, your weekly benefit payment will default to the minimum amount of $189 per week. Note that from April 4 through July 25, everyone who receives PUA also will receive the weekly $600 supplemental payments made possible by the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
Yes, it's possible. To apply, visit pua.unemployment.ohio.gov and click the button that says "Click Here to Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance."

If you most recently received regular unemployment, PEUC or EB, simply go to unemployment.ohio.gov, click on "Get Started Now," and answer the questions. When prompted, log in using your Social Security number and existing PIN. (If you do not remember your PIN, call 1-866-962-4064.) When you reach the "Ohio Unemployment Benefits – Main Menu" page, click on the button for "Restart your claim for Benefits effective with the week beginning SUNDAY of the current week." After you submit the application, remember to continue filing weekly claims while you wait for your determination.

If you most recently received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, visit pua.unemployment.ohio.gov, enter your Social Security number and password, and request benefit payments for any weeks you were unemployed.

Technical Errors and Troubleshooting

This is the minimum PUA benefit amount. If you have been asked to submit additional documentation, this amount may appear until your claim can be processed.

You don't have to upload your 2019 tax returns immediately as proof of your income, but you will have to within 21 days. Otherwise, the system will default to the minimum benefit amount, and you will receive an email with a link telling you to return and upload a document.

In addition, from April 4 through July 25, everyone who receives PUA also will receive the weekly $600 supplemental payments made possible by the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

It's possible you're using your log-in credentials for the regular unemployment website. Your log-in credentials for the PUA website will be different. To apply for PUA, visit pua.unemployment.ohio.gov and click the button that says "Click Here to Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance."
After submitting your application, log in to your account and go to the "View and Maintain Account Information" tab on the left side of the screen. You will be able to upload your 1099 there.
After submitting your application, log in to your account and go to the "View and Maintain Account Information" tab on the left side of the screen. Then click on "Upload 1040 Tax Document."
One possibility is that when you entered your phone number, you also may have checked the box saying that you don’t have a phone number. When that happens, the system won’t let you proceed.
After submitting your application, log in to your account and go to the "View and Maintain Account Information" tab on the left side of the screen. You will be able to update your banking information there. Staff cannot assist with this.
If you're not able to reset your password online, please call the PUA Call Center at (833) 604-0774.
You will need staff assistance. Please call the PUA Call Center at (833) 604-0774 or email PUA-Technical-Services@jfs.ohio.gov.
You will need to click on the button that says "Summary" so that you can verify that the answers you entered are correct. Then click on "Submit." This will certify your weekly claim and provide the next weeks, if any, to be claimed. If you would like to change any of your answers, click on "Previous" to change them.
You have two options. You can either enter new banking information or switch to debit card payments. If the payment was rejected because it was more than the bank will allow you to deposit in a given time period, you will need to use a different bank or switch to debit card payments. For security reasons, you can do this ONLY through self-service online. You will need to take one of these actions in order to receive the payment.
Log into your account at pua.unemployment.ohio.gov. In the left toolbar, click on "Issues and Determinations" under "View and Maintain Account Information." Click on the Issue Identification Number that you would like to provide documentation for. Then check the box to provide additional documentation and select "Next." On the next screen, select "Yes." Select the "Upload Document" button, add your document and click "Submit." To upload multiple documents, repeat these steps.

What to Expect After Applying

Most claims are processed in approximately 21 days.
Weekly claims are paid approximately five to seven days after they are approved.
The benefit amount will be similar to traditional unemployment benefits plus an additional $600 per week. The $600 per week benefit is known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (or "FPUC") and is offered through the federal CARES Act. To calculate your estimated weekly payment (not including the additional $600), see page 19 of the Worker's Guide to Unemployment Insurance. Benefits will be retroactive to the date you became eligible, as far back as February 2, 2020. Note that the additional $600 per week is available from March 29, 2020 through July 25, 2020.
Benefits will be retroactive to the date you became eligible, which could have been as early as February 2. Those who are eligible can receive benefits for up to 39 weeks, but not past December 26, 2020.
You may have entered your wages but not your weeks worked. If that is the case, our system may have overestimated your appropriate benefit amount. It’s also possible that you entered past earnings without documentation. If so, your weekly payment will default to the minimum $189, with an overpayment noted for weeks claimed. Whenever overpayments are issued, Ohio law requires up to 50% of future benefits to be applied to the overpayment balance. To view your overpayment details, log in to your account at pua.unemployment.ohio.gov and select "Manage Debt."
Sometimes emails do not show up properly when opened on some models of iPhones. Please try opening the email on a desktop or laptop.

If you chose to receive benefits on a U.S. Bank ReliaCard, you may receive the card in the mail before funds are loaded onto it. Your card will be funded two to three business days after your claim has been approved. If you have questions about your ReliaCard, please visit usbankreliacard.com.