I was denied unemployment because of my lump sem severance package

I was laid of in February from my full time job because of lack of work, My severance was based on my pay and the number of years that I worked for the Company, the Company did not fight, but Ohio unemployment denied my compensation

1 answer  |  asked Oct 19, 2009 06:19 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Most likely what happened is that Ohio Dept. of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) allowed your claim for unemployment compensation benefits, but reduced the amount of your weekly benefit to zero for those weeks that it considered covered by the severance agreement.

Even if ODJFS approves a claim (which is based on the reasons for your discharge), it must still decide how much you receive. Your unemployment compensation benefit is based on your prior earnings and the number of your dependents. However, ODJFS will reduce the amount of your benefit in any week in which you receive any "remuneration," or payment for services, from whatever source. ODJFS treat severance pay as remuneration for the weeks in which it is received.

When a former employee receives severance pay as a lump sum, Ohio law states that it shall be treated as received during the period covered by the severance pay. For example, if your severance agreement stated that you received $X as a lump sum severance payment for Y weeks, then ODJFS will divide X by Y to calculate the amount deemed received by you each covered week. If the amount exceeds your unemployment compensation benefit amount, the unemployment compensation benefit is reduced to $0.

If there is no designation of the period with respect to which payments are made, then ODJFS can attribute an amount equal to your normal weekly wage as deemed paid for the first and each succeeding week following your separation until the lump sum amount is exhausted.

ORC Section 4141.31. The corresponding Ohio Administrative Code section states:

Payments made to employees in return for their agreeing to a separation from employment shall be deducted from unemployment benefits otherwise payable to them as provided under section 4141.31 of the Revised Code. Such payments shall be deemed to be remuneration in the form of separation pay.

OAC 4141-30-01, Separation Pay.

If this is what happened in your case, then you should begin receiving unemployment compensation benefits in the week following the completion of the severance pay period, unless your earnings from other employment at that point exceed the unemployment compensation amount.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Oct 22, 2009 10:11 AM [EST]

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