NewsPublic Affairs / July 27, 2020

Unemployed Hoosiers Hold Out Hope For Extension As Extra $600 Benefit Ends

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Unemployed Hoosiers Hold Out Hope For Extension As Extra $600 Benefit Ends

The online Uplink system where Hoosiers must apply for unemployment benefits alerts visitors that FPUC payments are set to expire.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

An extra $600 unemployment benefit (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) ended this Saturday, meaning unemployed Hoosiers will start getting just less than half their normal weekly income. 

While Congress tries to negotiate some kind of increased unemployment benefits, unemployed Hoosiers say relief can’t come soon enough. In the meantime, unemployed workers will start getting just less than half their normal weekly income. 

Karina worked at events in downtown Indianapolis until the pandemic struck in March and conferences and sporting events were canceled. She waited weeks for any benefits at all and now, without the extra money, she’ll get just $84 a week. She says that comes nowhere close to paying bills. 

“I’m anxious, but I’m also hopeful that someone is doing something. That they’re going to help us,” she said. “If not, I guess I’m going to have to – I don’t know. I’m almost at a loss. I have no idea what to feel in this moment.”

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The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said it will update systems as quickly as possible if Congress passes legislation that extends the extra benefits, but it will take time for the state to implement. 

DWD Chief of Staff Josh Richardson notes that it would be quicker to update software if Congress gives unemployed workers a fixed dollar amount rather than a percentage of weekly income. The latter may require waiting on additional guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on how states should interpret and enact changes in the law.

Either way, he says some delay in stimulus payments to unemployed Hoosiers is inevitable.

“We’re worried about the delay,” he said. “Certainly the more that they change from the current setup and structure, the longer delays there could be in our implementation even after it is effected.” 

Richardson says the department is also still working to solve specific claim issues for Hoosiers who filed claims many weeks ago and were prevented from receiving payments. If those claims were received before July 25, they will still be eligible to receive the extra $600 for each week.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

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