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How Ohioans can apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, available now

Posted at 11:34 AM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 11:34:40-04

CLEVELAND — Ohioans can now apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a new federal program that covers more categories of workers than the traditional unemployment programs.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we diligently worked to build this new system in record time for the agency,” said ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall, in a news release. “We encourage anyone who believes they may be eligible to apply. Even after you return to work, you still may be eligible to receive retroactive benefits, dating from as early as February 2.”

The program has expanded its eligibility to provide benefits for individuals who are ineligible for state unemployment benefits, including self-employed workers and 1099 tax filers.

The program was created under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law on March 27.

To be eligible, individuals must NOT be eligible for regular unemployment benefits and must meet one of the following circumstances:

  • The individual has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or is experiencing symptoms and is seeking medical diagnosis.
  • A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • The individual is providing care for a family member or member of the household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 emergency, and the school or care is required for the individual to work.
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • The individual is unable to reach the place of employment because a healthcare professional has advised him or her to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns.
  • The individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The individual has quit his/her job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • The individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19.

For more information, click here.

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Reopening Ohio
Gov. Mike DeWine and the State of Ohio have established a plan to begin reopening Ohio businesses starting May 1. Below is a timeline of the businesses allowed to reopen.

May 1: Medical care – non-essential surgeries and procedures that do not require an overnight stay will be allowed beginning May 1.
May 4: Manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses that were ordered to cease activities may reopen on May 4, as well as general office environments.
May 12: Retail establishments and facilities will be allowed to reopen on May 12.
May 15: Salons, barbershops, day spas, tanning facilities, massage parlors, tattoo parlors and piercing businesses. Restaurants will be allowed to serve patrons on outdoor patios. More details here.
May 21: Restaurants and bars will be allowed to reopen for dine-in service. Read more here. Campgrounds will be allowed to reopen. Read more here.
May 22: Horse racing will be allowed to resume, with no spectators. Casinos and Racinos are not included in the reopening. Read more here.
May 26: Gyms, fitness centers, regulated pools, recreation centers and studios will be allowed to reopen, with new requirements. Non-contact and limited-contact sports leagues, such as golf, baseball and tennis will be allowed to resume. BMVs across Ohio will reopen, but government officials encourage citizens to utilize the BMVs online services when possible. Read more here.
May 31: Day care centers will be able to reopen in Ohio. Read more about the plan to reopen day cares here. Day camps and summer camps will also be allowed to operate. Details on that here.

While these announced reopenings encompass the majority of the businesses, agencies and events closed and canceled by the state's orders, the governor has not yet made an annoucements on when K-12 schools in the state will reopen, nor when places of public amusement, such as theme parks, gambling businesses, skating rinks, movie theaters, and others will be allowed to reopen. See a full list of indoor and outdoor places that remain closed here.

Click here for more details on the state's "Responsible RestartOhio" plan.