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Changes to Unemployment Insurance as a Result of COVID-19

3/19/20 – Deirdre Bird

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As policies and regulations continue to evolve in response to the spread of COVID-19, our experts will keep you up-to-date on the latest modifications affecting our clients. With millions of Americans currently out of work due to national prevention orders, the government is amending existing policies to allow for quicker access to unemployment insurance. The following article provides guidance and resources for the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana, in respect to unemployment insurance.

For Employers

Self-employed individuals who have been solely self-employed for the last year or more may not meet the monetary requirements to establish a claim because the wages they earned from self-employment are not considered “covered” under most states’ unemployment law, including Ohio and Kentucky.

For contributory employers, charges during Ohio’s COVID emergency declaration period will be mutualized, instead of being charged to the employer’s individual account. Reimbursing employers will follow existing charging requirements under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4141.  The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will waive penalties for late reporting and payments during Ohio's emergency declaration period.

Additional information can be found below.

Ohio

http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS08201/pdf/

https://unemployment.ohio.gov/employer_info.html

Kentucky

https://kcc.ky.gov/career/If-you-are-an-Employer/Pages/default.aspx

https://kcc.ky.gov/career/If-you-are-an-Employer/Pages/Frequently-asked-questions.aspx

Indiana

https://www.in.gov/dwd/2362.htm

https://www.in.gov/dwd/files/Indiana_Unemployment_FAQ.pdf

For Employees

When filing a claim, employees should be prepared to provide their social security number, driver’s license/state ID number, address, email and telephone number. They should have a copy of their most recent pay stub, and will need to know their former employer(s)’ address(es) during the past 18 months, the exact dates they worked for each employer and the reason they became unemployed. If they are not a U.S. citizen or national, they will also need their alien registration number and expiration date. If they had out-of-state employment, have worked for the federal government, or are separated from military service, more information is required, including Form DD-214, member 4 copy (for military service), and SF-8 or SF-50 form (for federal government employment).

Their unemployment claim is processed by the state in which they work:

Ohio

Employees laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic should use the form found at http://www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS00671/pdf/ to expedite their claim process.

Claims may be filed online at https://unemployment.ohio.gov or by telephone at 1-877-644-6562 (telephone claim system hours are 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, except holidays). 

More detailed information is available at http://unemployment.ohio.gov/.

Unemployment benefits will be available for employees who lose their job due to the loss of production caused by the coronavirus, or are requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19, even if they are not actually diagnosed with COVID-19, as long as the employee would otherwise be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will consider the circumstances to determine whether individuals who do not have any symptoms and self-quarantine are eligible for unemployment benefits; they may not be eligible. The waiting period for eligible Ohioans to receive unemployment benefits will be waived.

Kentucky

To access the Kentucky unemployment internet system and file an electronic claim, visit the following website: https://kcc.ky.gov/career/Pages/default.aspx Monday-Friday, 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., and Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.

Unemployment Insurance claimants who do not have access to the Internet or who speak Spanish can call 502-875-0442 Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Eastern Time, to file their initial or reopen claims by telephone. This is not a toll-free number.

For more information on unemployment insurance, go to the website for the Kentucky Office of Employment and Training at http://www.kewes.ky.gov

On March 16, 2020, Governor Andy Beshear ordered that the waiting period for eligible Kentuckians to receive unemployment benefits be waived.

Indiana

To access the Indiana unemployment system and file a claim, go to the following website: https://www.in.gov/dwd/2362.htm. Call 1-800-891-6499 to reach a customer service specialist.

The one-week waiting period in which unemployment insurance payments are not made is still in effect in Indiana. Eligible employees must still file for that week, in order to satisfy the filing requirements for unemployment insurance payment eligibility in the following weeks.

Information adapted from information from Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Kentucky Career Center Unemployment Service, and Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

For any questions related to the most recent unemployment insurance updates, please contact VonLehman’s professional HR Consulting team at dbird@vlcpa.com or 800.887.0437.