What is unemployment compensation?

If you lose your job due to no fault of your own, you’re not on strike and you’ve worked in that job a sufficient period of time, you’re eligible while unemployed to receive benefits equal to half of your gross salary, up to a weekly cap of between $375 and $508, depending on the number of your dependents. The benefits, funded by a state tax on employers, usually last for 26 weeks . Because tax receipts have lagged the amount of benefits paid out, since January 2009 Ohio has borrowed money from the Federal government to fund the benefits and owes it $2.3 billion.

When do benefits expire, why did some get 99 weeks of benefits and others only 26 weeks?

Starting in June 2008, Congress provided federal funding for unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks and gradually extended the benefits to 99 weeks for states including Ohio with high levels of unemployment:

The last extension in July sets these expiration dates:

• Those who haven’t exhausted their first 26 weeks of benefits by Nov. 20 receive no more benefits.

• Others who have received benefits longer than 26 weeks and less than 79 weeks will receive benefits for the remainder of a period ranging from six and 20 weeks.

• Those who have received more than 79 weeks of benefits will not receive any more benefits after Sunday.

Source: Ohio Department of Job and Family Services

What’s the status of legislation in Congress to extend unemployment benefits?

Democrats in the House on Nov. 18, facing Republican opposition, failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote to pass a bill with a fast-track process that would have allowed people to receive benefits at least another three months, but not more than the 99-week maximum, at a cost of $12 billion.

U.S. Rep. John Boccieri, D-Alliance, voted, “Yes.” He said he would back a year-long extension of unemployment benefits and fund it by eliminating tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas. He said Republicans have blocked other bills providing an extension in the Senate.

“The Republicans keep saying, ‘Bah, humbug,’ ” he said.

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