Ben Asks a Question: Will unemployment rules change when Ohio gradually reopens?

Husted: Ohioans will still apply under current rules
Posted at 6:04 PM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 08:52:03-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohio’s economy begins to gradually open back up in the coming weeks, Ohioans will still be able to apply for unemployment under the current rules.

When the state began its stay-at-home order in March, Gov. Mike DeWine announced some changes to Ohio’s unemployment system, allowing unemployed Ohioans to bypass “red-tape,” such as eliminating the waiting period before allowing residents to apply for unemployment.

Ben Asks a Question is a feature we started as a way to help give you a voice during Gov. Mike DeWine's daily press briefings. Since then, Ben has gotten hundreds of questions a day. If you'd like to ask a question, find us on Facebook and feel free to message us there, or send us an email at

WCPO viewers have continued to send in questions about unemployment. We’re doing our best to get to all of your questions, but as more and more seem to be about specific situations that the governor and lieutenant governor don’t necessarily have the answers to, I decided today to ask a more broad question about unemployment.

Today, I asked Lt. Gov. Jon Husted if Ohioans will still be able to bypass certain parts of the state’s unemployment system even as Ohio begins to re-open.

Husted said there are no plans to go back to the state’s original unemployment rules at the moment. Since DeWine’s administration realizes Ohio will still be far from normal after beginning to reopen, Husted made it clear that the state’s economy will not be coming back fast.

“The reality is that even when you open things back up, it’s not going to come back fast … It’s not like on May 1, that the things that open up, that it’s just going to pop back like you’re throwing on a light switch,” said Husted. “This is going to go very, very gradually. Not because of anything we’re doing, but because of the nature of the economy … And so we don’t expect that on May 1, or on May 15th or June 1, that the economic circumstances for those folks, many of them, are going to change all that dramatically.”

Over 700,000 Ohioans have applied for unemployment since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.