Ohio's Unemployment System For Self-Employed Workers Goes Live

May 13, 2020

Self-employed, independent contractors and 1099 workers in Ohio got some long-awaited news on Tuesday when the system to pay them jobless benefits finally went online.

The notice hit inboxes early Tuesday, said Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Director Kimberly Hall.

“At 7 a.m. we sent out, I think, 90,000 emails," Hall said. "And we’ll do another 90,000 emails and then we’ll do – we’ll just gradually get people that notice."

To keep the system from crashing, Hall said 208,000 workers who pre-registered over the last few weeks are getting notices, but all workers who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment will also be able to apply Wednesday.

Many have had no income since mid-March, though the state has paid out more than $2 billion in benefits. Independent contractors and self-employed workers were previously ineligible for unemlpoyment, but a measure to include them was passed as part of a larger coronavirus relief bill in Congress.

The Department of Jobs and Family Services said it needed to build the system to pay them from scratch.

Ohioans can apply for those unemployment benefits here.