If you’re among the millions of Americans who’ve suffered job losses or reduced income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, help may be closer than you think. On March 27, the government passed the CARES Act, an extraordinary set of measures that will inject nearly $2 trillion into the economy. One of the most significant provisions of the act involves the expansion of the Unemployment Insurance benefits package. As per the National Employment Law Project, those eligible to claim unemployment under the act can expect in Indiana:
- A supplementary $600 per week on top of what the state allows until the end of July 2020.
- A waiving of the usual 7-day waiting period after filing a claim.
- Up to an additional 13 weeks of paid benefits on top of what the state allows until the end of July.
To further support those adversely affected by the economic downtown, the eligibility criteria for claiming unemployment has been expanded. Under normal circumstances, claimants are expected to verify they are able to work, ready and available to work, and actively seeking work. Given the current situation, this is no longer the case, at least for those claiming as a consequence of COVID-19.
If any of the below applies to your situation, you may be able to claim unemployment under the new rules:
- You are either sick with COVID-19 or in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19.
- You are caring for someone with, or who has been exposed to, COVID-19.
- Your employer has closed, whether permanently or temporarily, because of COVID-19.
- Your hours have been cut because of COVID-19.
- You are unable to work because of school closures.
- You are unable to travel to work because of COVID-19 and do not have the option to work from home.
- You feel it is unsafe to continue to work because of COVID-19.
- Your work as a gig worker, a freelancer, or a contractor has been affected by COVID-19.
How Do I Apply for Unemployment in Indiana?
As Motley Fool reports, Indiana has been slow to introduce the new measures of the CARES Act; however, it’s working to ensure rollout as soon as further direction from the Department of Labor is received. In the meantime, it’s recommended that workers file their claims as soon as possible after being made unemployed to avoid any delays in payment.
To apply for unemployment in Indiana, you’ll need to supply the following information:
- A valid email address
- Driver’s license or valid ID
- Mailing address
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Your last employer’s name, address, phone number, your first and last working day with the employer and your reason for leaving.
- Bank routing number and account number if you chose to have your benefits paid by direct deposit.
As eligibility is partly dependent on meeting minimum income requirements, you’ll also need to verify your previous earnings. In order to qualify for unemployment, you’ll need to have earned at least $4,200 in total over your base period, and at least $2,500 of that sum must have been earned in the final six months of your base period. Your total earnings in the base period should be at least 1.5 times your total income during your highest-earning quarter.
- Your base period will depend on when you file your claim.
- If you file your claim between April and June 2020, your base period will be January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019.
- If you file your claim between July and September 2020, your base period will be April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020.
- If you file your claim between October and December 2020, your base period will be July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020.
Once you’ve gathered all the required information, the next step will be to create an online account at the DWD’s online portal. Once the account has been created, follow the system prompts to log your claim. After you’ve filed your initial claim, you’ll need to submit a weekly voucher to verify your claim. You’ll need to file your first voucher the week following your initial application, even if a decision on your claim is still pending.
How Much Money Will I Receive in Unemployment Benefits?
Unemployment benefits in Indiana are capped at $390 per week, but you may earn less than this, depending on your previous salary. To calculate your likely benefits, add up your total earnings during your base period, divide by 52, multiply by $47, and round down to the nearest dollar. If you’d rather someone else do the math for you, check out the handy calculator over on File Unemployment: simply enter your earnings and the tool will crunch the numbers to give you your estimated entitlement. Just remember this is intended as an indication only: what you actually get may be different.
Within 10 business days of filing your application, you’ll receive a monetary determination form with a breakdown of what your potential weekly benefit will be if your application is successful. This DWD will continue to investigate your claim and will notify you within 21 days via a Determination of Eligibility of their decision.
If your claim is denied, you have 10 days of the mailing date of the Determination of Eligibility to log an appeal. Details of the appeals process will be included in the Determination. In brief, you’ll be expected to provide a written statement outlining the reason you believe the decision is incorrect. The statement should also include your name, address, phone number, and Social Security number. If your claim is successful, you will be eligible to claim for a maximum of 39 weeks. To receive payment, I’ts vital you verify your claim weekly on the online portal to avoid any interruption in payment. Payment will be made either via Direct Deposit or a Key2Benefits prepaid Mastercard, depending on your preference.