Ohio’s 85-year unemployment compensation fund


Ohio’s unemployment compensation system began in the depths of the Great Depression to help workers lose their jobs and has been a lifeline in the decades since.

But after economic shockwaves hit the system in the 1980s, late 2000s, and last year during the global pandemic, Ohio had to borrow from the federal government to keep the jobless checks alive.

Here is an overview of the key dates in the history of the system:

April 9, 1931: State lawmakers created the Ohio Unemployment Insurance Commission to study whether the state should establish an unemployment insurance fund.

1935: The Social Security Act provides the framework for states to establish unemployment insurance funds.

December 16, 1936: Ohio enacted the Ohio Unemployment Compensation Act.

Construction workers work on an addition to the People's Hospital in Akron in 1941. (Akron Beacon Journal file photo)

January 1950: Unemployment benefits hit a record high. The Ohio General Assembly increased maximum payments to $ 25 for 26 weeks, from $ 21 for 22 weeks.

July 1963: Ohio increased employer contributions to the fund from $ 686 million in 1956 to $ 108 million. The changes also required women workers to work longer weeks to qualify for benefits and women who lost their jobs due to pregnancy would not be eligible until they gave birth and only if their old job was no longer available. .

1980s: The unemployment trust fund went bankrupt, forcing the state to borrow money from the federal government for eight consecutive years. Ohio borrowed $ 3.8 billion.

1982: The legislator has increased taxes, tightened eligibility rules and frozen benefits.

1989: Ohio Bureau of Employment Services Releases Study Warns Fund Will Be Insolvent By 1998 If No Changes Are Made To Tax Rates Or Benefits.

1995: Ohio increased taxable base salary to $ 9,000. This is the last time it was increased.

July 1, 2000: Ohio merged the Department of Social Services and the Office of Unemployment Services to create the Ohio Department of Employment and Family Services.

july 2008: A state-commissioned economic study recommends measures to strengthen the solvency of funds, including increasing the taxable salary base and indexing the future increase to inflation.

January 12, 2009: Ohio’s unemployment fund ran out of money, forcing the state to borrow money from the federal government to keep unemployment benefits flowing during the Great Recession. Ohio borrowed $ 2.6 billion.

Following:Unemployment fraud in Ohio, overpayments exceed $ 2.1 billion

december 2016: Business leaders, union leaders and legislative leaders pledge to find a solution to chronic insolvency problems by April 1. No solution has been announced.

june 2020: Ohio’s unemployment fund ran out of money, forcing the state to borrow again from the federal government.

May 2021: DeWine administration revealed that fraud and overpayments in the system exceeded $ 2.1 billion between March 2020 and March 2021.

Following:Ohio uses federal money to pay federal government back $ 1.5 billion for unemployment compensation loan

September 2021: Ohio Uses Federal Grant Money To Pay Off $ 1.5 Billion Federal Loan. Governor Mike DeWine is committed to working with lawmakers to address the fund’s chronic insolvency.

Sources: Ohio History, Policy Matters Ohio, Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Citizen Journal, USA TODAY Network Report.

Laura Bischoff is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal, and 18 other affiliated news organizations in Ohio.

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