We are in the middle of the most uncertainty we have experienced in several decades. It seems that the rules and programs are ever-changing, and unemployment is no exception. 

In the beginning, under the CARES Act, certain unemployed people who were receiving benefits were granted an additional $600 per week. That program ended at the end of July 2020. Congress could not come to an agreement regarding the benefits, so they were not extended. 

Then, President Trump issued an Executive Order that, among other things, extended unemployment benefits of an additional $400 per week if your job was lost as a result of COVID. 

Of that $400, only $300 of it was going to come from the Federal government. The additional $100 would come from the already-taxed state unemployment funds. Each state would have to apply to receive the Federal money. 

Ohio did make the application and was approved for the $300 per week for the Federal subsidy. However, Ohio chose not to add the additional $100 that would have come from their unemployment fund. 

Please know that the issuance of the $300 is retroactive if you were on active and COVID-related unemployment. As a recipient of unemployment benefits, you will have to complete an application to receive the $300 additional payment. 

You can contact the Ohio unemployment office at 877-644-6562. When you call, you will have to ‘self-certify’ that your unemployment is the result of Covid to receive the additional $300.

If there have been additional weeks added to your unemployment eligibility, you will have to contact the unemployment office to apply for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits to get that extension. You will receive a notice and instructions to complete this application after exhausting the regular unemployment benefits. 

If Ohio’s unemployment remains high, there may be an opportunity for an additional 20-week extension. Be sure to pay attention to all notices from the unemployment office. 

Excerpted from the Plain Dealer Business Section articles on August 30. 2020 and September 6, 2020.