Over the holidays, the federal government signed a law that would increase unemployment benefits to out-of-work Hoosiers. But Indiana has not yet announced when it will begin sending out an additional $300 in unemployment benefits.
The so-called Continued Assistance Act would restart additional Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) benefits at a lower rate – it was originally $600 – and extends the length of time an unemployed worker can be eligible for benefits.
It also gives states a new ability to waive overpayments in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for self-employed workers, but requires those workers to provide more documentation to be eligible.
The act also creates a new program called Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC). It provides states with the option to award an extra $100 in benefits to workers who had a self-employed “side hustle” in addition to traditional employment.
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The Department of Workforce Development said it received some guidance from the federal Department of Labor. It will participate in informational webinar sessions this week to learn more about how to meet new requirements and get the additional benefits to Hoosiers soon. Indiana has signed an agreement with the federal government indicating it intends to implement an MEUC program for Hoosiers, however it is unclear when it would begin.
The most recent report DOL report indicates a total of about 500,000 continued and new claims across all available programs – "regular" state unemployment, PUA and PEUC. The Department of Workforce Development said the number of unique claimants for unemployment benefits is roughly 156,000 Hoosiers.
The difference is due in part to the ability for one person to file vouchers for multiple claims at once to receive backpay and ongoing fraudulent claims, which must also be included in the total claim count to DOL, but are not included in the department's count of unique claimants.
CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story said “about 500,000 Hoosiers are still filing new or continued claims for unemployment benefits each week.” The last two paragraphs were added to clarify the difference between the number of claims across all available unemployment and the actual estimate of unique claimants in Indiana.