Ohio may become the only state to deduct 100 percent of Social Security benefits from unemployment insurance payments if legislation pending in its House of Representatives is signed into law.
However, the bill (House Bill 394), which is in the House Insurance Committee, is far from finalized, according to Insurance Committee Chairman Rep. Bob D. Hackett, a Republican.
Meetings already have been held on the bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Barbara Sears, also a Republican. The bill has elicited numerous calls to Hackett’s office, mostly from labor representatives who oppose the measure. The business community supports the bill, Hackett says.
The measure is being considered to help balance the state budget, although no estimate of potential revenue savings has been done. If the bill becomes law, a resident getting unemployment benefits would see the amount reduced by any federal Social Security payments he or she is receiving. Minnesota deducts half of Social Security from unemployment benefits.
In the early 2000s, numerous states had such offsets, but all except Minnesota have repealed them.
The Ohio bill also would reduce the number of weeks that unemployment would be paid from 26 to either 12 weeks or 20 weeks; the final number has not been set. Hackett said the lower number of weeks is being considered because the unemployment rate nationwide has dropped.
Ohio had an offset until 2007, when it was abolished because opponents said it hurt senior citizens. Sen. Bill Seitz, Republican sponsor of the 2007 measure that eliminated the offset, has been quoted in Ohio newspapers as saying he is opposed to reinstating it. Sears did not return calls for comment, nor did Gov. John Kasich, who is running for the Republican presidential nomination.
As written, the bill would also deduct Social Security disability benefits from unemployment benefits, but Hackett said that provision probably will be removed.