December 16, 2020

Indiana To Use Bulk Of Remaining COVID-19 Relief Money For Federal Unemployment Loan

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Indiana, like many states, had to borrow money from the federal government to cover the sharp increase in unemployment benefits. - Justin Hicks/IPB News

Indiana, like many states, had to borrow money from the federal government to cover the sharp increase in unemployment benefits.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Indiana plans to use the bulk of its remaining federal COVID-19 relief dollars to pay off a federal unemployment loan.

The state has around $600 million left of the federal CARES Act money it received earlier this year. And, without an extension, that money must be spent on expenses – directly related to the pandemic – incurred by the end of December.

Office of Management and Budget Director Cris Johnston said the plan is to use $400 million to pay off a loan the state had to take out from the federal government to cover the sharp increase in unemployment benefits.

“We believe it is prudent to make a deposit to avoid that borrowing,” Johnston said.

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Meanwhile, one-third of Hoosier restaurants say they won’t be open in six months and a national forecaster says the number of Hoosiers struggling to pay rent or mortgages is a red flag for Indiana.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said the state is considering those needs for the remainder of its relief dollars.

“We’re looking at restaurants and our hospitality sector and ways that we can help, not just down the stretch but into the future, as well,” Holcomb said.

Johnston said the state is also “working through” a wait list for housing assistance and could provide more money, if needed.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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