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Ohio’s unemployment system is teetering on insolvency

Written on Jun 16, 2023

Ohio lawmakers are again trying to patch financial holes the state’s long-ailing unemployment benefits system – this time, by significantly cutting benefits. 

Senate Bill 116, introduced by two Senate Republicans, would cut the number of weeks jobless Ohioans can receive benefits from 26 weeks to a range of 12 to 20 weeks, depending on what the state’s unemployment rate is at the time. 

It also would stop allowing Ohioans who qualify for the maximum unemployment payout of $561 per week to get an additional $119 to $204 per week if they have dependent children. 

Overall, if SB 116 passes, total benefit payouts would decrease by nearly 39%, saving over $7 billion through 2036, according to estimates from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The share of recipients who exhaust all their available benefits would likely increase from an average of 23.3% to 51.8% from 2024-2036, and the average claim length would drop during that same period from 13.6 weeks to 8.8 weeks, ODJFS estimated. 

SB116 also would require employers to pay more, too, as the state would charge unemployment taxes on the first $9,500 of each employee’s income starting in 2024, rather than $9,000 under current law. 

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