Is there any way to challenge the state's failure to pay unemployment compensation benefits?

My wife lost her job in June 2007 when her employer moved his laboratory from Cleveland, Ohio to Buffalo, New York. Since she lost her job through no fault of her own, she qualified and applied for unemployment compensation benefits. Her claim for benefits was never denied and she has provided all of the information requested of her, but she has never received any benefits, nor has she been offered any explanation for why she has never received benefits. Is there any way to force the state to either provide the unemployment compensation benefits that my wife should have received over the past three and a half years, or give an explanation for why they have never paid those benefits?

1 answer  |  asked Nov 19, 2010 2:02 PM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Christina Royer
If your wife filed her claim, and her claim was allowed, she should have received paperwork from the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services (ODJFS) relating to her claim.

From there, in order to receive benefits, she should have filed weekly claims to establish her eligibility each week. It is not clear from your post whether she did this.

As a general proposition, claimants who establish eligibility for benefits are entitled to 26 weeks of benefits. Thereafter, if there were federal extension benefits available to her, she would have had to have applied and qualified for those. The federal extensions are now phasing out, but could be renewed, if the incoming Congress agree to extend them.

If federal extensions were not available at the time her claim for benefits under Ohio's system ended, her claim would have been done after she received 26 weeks of benefits, which she had a year to take.

Now, most claimants file their initial and weekly claims online, so she would have received e-mails relating to notices in her online/electronic account, which she could view using her username and PIN, which is mailed out after the claim is initiated.

If she opted not to do her claim online, and/or you moved or there was a mistake with the mailing address (i.e., such that she did not receive the paperwork assigning the username and PIN), that might explain why you never received any notices relating to her claim.

The problem is that, if your wife did not file her weekly claims, she would not be able to collect benefits. A claimant has 21 days to file a claim for each week of unemployment. ODJFS will not extend this time, absent "good cause."

You may want to contact ODJFS and figure out what happened. If she did not file weekly claims and there is a basis to establish "good cause" for failing to file timely, she may be able to receive her benefits.

ODJFS may question why it took you this long to contact the agency to see what happened with her claims, so you may want to be ready to answer that question.

Good luck!

Chris Royer

posted by Christina Royer  |  Nov 19, 2010 2:48 PM [EST]

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