Under Indiana’s temporary “stay-at-home” order, many businesses deemed not essential have laid off staff or cannot pay employees while they are shut down. To help, Gov. Eric Holcomb expanded unemployment coverage to those impacted, including Hoosiers whose work hours were reduced, those under medical quarantine and employees who cannot continue to work because of lack of child care options.
“Without doubt, every person in our community is affected in some way by this health crisis,” Jordan said. “It’s my hope we get through this quickly, however, this pandemic could have long-lasting impacts on Hoosier families and businesses. That’s why programs to help get through these difficult times have been extended and expanded.”
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Hoosiers should file for unemployment insurance if their employment has been interrupted or ended due to COVID-19, and their claim will be evaluated. Individuals must apply for UI benefits online, using a computer or smart phone at Unemployment.IN.gov. For questions, the state asks Hoosiers to review the Frequently Asked Questions, the Claimant Handbook or the online video tutorials before calling the 1-800-891-6499 helpline, which continues to experience a high volume of calls.
Indiana waived the one-week waiting period for payment of unemployment benefits, and it is retroactive to March 8, 2020. Qualified claimants can typically receive benefits for up to 26 weeks, but this has been extended by an additional 13 weeks. Jordan said thanks to the action of the federal government, unemployed workers who file and are approved will see an extra $600 per week for four months.
Jordan said small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives and nonprofits can receive up to $2 million in low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses, which could have been met had the disaster not occurred. The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The loan interest rates for small businesses and nonprofits are 3.75% and 2.75%, respectively, with terms up to 30 years.
“Small business plays an essential part of the state’s economy, and it’s imperative business owners take a look at all their options when making decisions,” Jordan said. “Hoosier business owners need to know these programs are out there, and it’s my hope they can make the best of what has become an unprecedented situation.”