Indiana resumes federal unemployment benefits

Indiana resumes federal unemployment benefits
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 4:47 PM CDT
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INDIANA (WFIE) - After almost a month with no federal assistance, unemployed Hoosiers can, once again, start getting money from federal programs.

[PREVIOUS: Ind. ending pandemic unemployment programs June 19]

This is according to Friday’s update from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

As of Thursday, all three federal unemployment programs have been reinitiated in Indiana.

That means those $300 weekly unemployment add-ons are back, as well as benefits for independent contractors, gig workers and people who otherwise might not be eligible for unemployment.

This also means those benefits will be extended beyond the regular 26-week cap.

Since the programs restarted in Indiana, state leaders say they have been able to pay 25,000 Hoosiers in just one day’s time.

Fred Payne is the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

According to Commissioner Payne, Friday’s unemployment rate sits at 4.1%, which is down from 11.2% this time last year.

“As we move in this positive direction,” says Commissioner Payne, “our goal at the DWD is to ensure that every unemployment insurance claimant receives the benefits to which he or she is eligible, and to provide training and tools and job opportunities.”

State leaders say these federal benefits will be paid retroactively from June 26. That way Hoosiers won’t miss out on that money.

Commissioner Payne says this comes after $8.6 billion in benefits have been paid to 875,000 Hoosiers since the start of the pandemic.

He says that is more than the previous five years combined.

Unemployed Hoosiers can apply to enroll for benefits on the DWD’s website.

Commissioner Payne also discussed unemployment fraud during Friday’s statewide update.

He says the DWD has extra measures in place to make sure fraudulent payments are not mailed out, although it could delay payments for legitimate claimants.

Commissioner Payne says since the updated measures been implemented, 27% of people who have attempted to verify themselves on the state’s website have been fraudulent.

“Since November 2020,” says Commissioner Payne, “our IT system has blocked more than 26 million attempts to use bots to attack and penetrate our system.”

Commissioner Payne asks Hoosiers be aware of fraudulent messages and misuse of personal information.

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