Indiana Unemployment Benefits, Amount, Services & Filing

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Hoosiers who experience a layoff or see a substantial reduction in hours will likely be eligible for unemployment insurance (UI). When they exhaust these state benefits, they will be eligible for federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). After they exhaust PEUC, they may be eligible for Extended Benefits, if conditions in Indiana are such that they are available.

If the claimant has exhausted all of these benefits, they will likely be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Self-employed people and independent contractors are also eligible for PUA. Indiana has waived the unpaid waiting week for benefits.

Weekly Benefit Amount

The minimum weekly benefit amount (WBA) is $50, and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $390. An individual may be eligible for an additional $100 a week through the Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program if they received regular UI or PEUC and were also self-employed. To qualify, they must have earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income in the most recent taxable year prior to their application for regular unemployment insurance and submit documentation substantiating their self-employment income. MEUC will expire the week of September 4, 2021.

Work Search Requirement

During the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) has waived the requirement that claimants actively search for work each week for which they claim benefits. A claimant can still search for work if they want and should retain details regarding their work search in a log, recording the name, contact information, date and activity in which they engaged to explain their efforts.

How to Receive UI Payments

DWD provides two payment options, direct deposit or a Key2Benefits prepaid Mastercard. DWD is no longer providing payments through Visa cards. A claimant can choose one of these options when they log in to Uplink Claimant Self Service (CSS). If an individual does not make a choice, they will receive the Mastercard. The card will be mailed two business days after they make the decision, and take between seven to 10 days to arrive.

The card will not be funded when the claimant receives it. It usually takes DWD 21 days to review and approve an unemployment insurance benefits claim. An individual can request an expedited card to arrive within two days, but must pay a $15 fee for this service.

When a claimant’s Uplink CSS homepage says there is a payment, it may take until 2 p.m. for funds to appear in their bank account or on the Key2Benefits card. There are no fees to use the Mastercard at Key Bank and Allpoint ATMs.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

A Hoosier can claim 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits. An unemployed worker cannot claim UI benefits for weeks that they are paid bonus pay, sick pay, vacation pay, money for a paid furlough, severance pay, payment in lieu of notice or holiday pay that is equal to or greater than their weekly benefit amount.

An employee is eligible for UI benefits if their employer lays off employees due to COVID-19, and the employee has earned enough wages to set up a claim. In order to claim UI under the latter circumstances, the employee must stay in contact with their employer and be available to work when called back.

How to Certify Weekly

Claimants should file weekly vouchers through the Uplink filing system. A claimant should submit their weekly voucher the week following their initial application and every week thereafter. DWD pays benefits weekly. A week runs from Sunday 12 a.m. to Saturday 8:59 p.m. A voucher covers the prior week and can be filed starting on Saturday.

Pandemic Emergency UI Compensation

PEUC is available for 53 weeks until it expires on September 4, 2021, due to provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act. After an individual exhausts their PEUC benefits, they may qualify for either 13 or 20 weeks of Extended Benefits (EB). Whether an individual meets the eligibility requirements for EB depends on Indiana’s unemployment rate and whether the state unemployment compensation law provided for a total unemployment rate trigger.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

PUA is a temporary federal unemployment insurance program that is different from state UI. It provides benefits for individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for UI benefits. PUA is available for 79 weeks, until it expires on September 4, 2021. In order to be eligible to receive PUA, a claimant must be able and available to work except for certain circumstances that relate to COVID-19.

These circumstances include the individual being scheduled to start a job but now does not have a job or is unable to reach it as a direct result of the COVID-19 public emergency; a child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency; or the individual seeing their place of employment closed because of COVID-19. An individual who is self-employed, seeking part-time employment or who does not otherwise qualify for benefits is likely eligible for PUA. The minimum payment for PUA is $149 per week. An individual must show proof of their income to have their WBA increased.

DWD collects proof of income by asking claimants to upload the documents through the DWD Secure File Exchange section on their Uplink account. The claimant should click Add File to add their tax return or other documents. Proof of income can be W-2 forms, 1099 forms, a state or federal tax return, pay stubs, bank receipts, business records, ledgers, contracts, invoices and billing statements. DWD uses an individual’s net wages to decide a self-employed person’s WBA; DWD uses an individual’s gross wages to decide a former or current employee’s WBA.

Return to Work

When an individual returns to part-time work, the wages they earn reduce the amount of benefits they are paid for the week. A claimant should report their wages on the weekly vouchers for benefits. If they earned wages from a base period employer, then a dollar-for-dollar deduction will be taken from their WBA. If they earned wages from an employer that is not on their monetary determination of eligibility or in their base period, DWD uses a formula to determine how the WBA will be reduced.

Indiana does not have the WorkShare Program that allows an employer to retain a group of employees by reducing all of their hours and working with DWD to allow them to claim partial unemployment benefits.

If a claimant earns 20 percent or less of their WBA from an employer that is not listed on the claimant’s determination of eligibility, the employee will not see a deduction from their benefit payment. If the claimant earns more than 20 percent of their WBA from an employer that is not listed on their monetary determination of eligibility, DWD will make a dollar-for-dollar deduction from their benefit payment for all wages earned in excess of 20 percent of their WBA. If the claimant works odd jobs for employers other than their base period employers, DWD will make a dollar-for-dollar deduction after the claimant earns an amount equal to 20 percent of their WBA.

Finding a Job

DWD provides assistance with job searches virtually or in-person by appointment. Those WorkOne offices providing in-person assistance are doing so on a limited schedule, and some offices are closed. A claimant should contact their local WorkOne office by phone or email to learn about hours and available services.

A claimant can get help by phone at 888-436-9092 or through a chat service on DWD’s WorkOne page. An individual should switch to another browser if they have issues using chat on Internet Explorer or MS Edge. DWD shares additional information about virtual and in-person career fairs and hiring events online.

File an Appeal

A claimant who disagrees with a decision by the DWD Appeals Division should file an appeal within 10 days from the sent date on the Determination of Eligibility. The claimant should include a copy of the Determination of Eligibility they are appealing. Claimants can mail, fax or deliver the appeal in person. A hearing usually takes place within eight to 10 weeks of the date the claimant files the appeal.

A claimant will receive a notice of their hearing at least 10 days before the date of the hearing. (Due to COVID-19, it could take longer to hold hearings.) An individual is required to return the second page of the notice of hearing indicating they want to participate in the hearing and give their phone number. They can deliver this by mail, fax or in person. DWD must receive the notice at least 24 hours before the hearing. Most hearings are phone hearings. The administrative law judge will send the decision within 10 days of the date of the hearing.

As of December 2020, the DWD Appeals Division is conducting some hearings on Saturdays. Claimants should also know there may be instances where DWD will call to schedule a PUA appeals hearing or a monetary hearing that has not been scheduled. The call will come from an 800 number.

Most Schools Have Reopened

Most Indiana public schools reopened for in-person instruction in fall 2020. Some schools are providing in-person instruction only for middle and high school students several days a week, and there are still some public schools that have not reopened for in-person instruction. A parent or guardian of a child cannot claim to be unavailable for work if their child’s school is open for in-person instruction, but they choose to have their child remain at home for distance learning.

Unemployment Fraud and Overpayment

It is unemployment fraud to fail to report hours of work or earnings. It is not fraud to receive an overpayment, but fraud can occur if a claimant who is ineligible for the overpayment keeps the overpayment. The only scenario in which a claimant may retain an overpayment is when DWD approves a waiver of the overpayment.

The circumstances that warrant a waiver involve the claimant receiving the benefits through no fault of their own; the benefits were the result of payments made because of an error by the employer or DWD or during the pendency of an appeal before an administrative law judge or the DWD Review Board, under which the individual is determined to be ineligible for benefits; and the repayment would cause the individual to suffer an economic hardship.

A claimant has to actively request a waiver of an overpayment. This requires submitting an overpayment waiver request application to DWD. The application is found at under Forms and Downloads.

The Overpayment Collection Process

If the claimant does not receive a waiver regarding the overpayment, DWD will send monthly billing notices and other collection letters about the amount they owe. Also, if the claimant becomes eligible for future benefits, DWD will apply 100 percent of the payment to the overpayment balance until it is paid in full. During the public health emergency due to COVID-19, the amount is reduced to $10 of each weekly payment.

The claimant may receive notice of a pending civil action by the state's Attorney General. Indiana state and federal income tax refunds and lottery winnings may be withheld and applied to the overpayment. DWD may also garnish the claimant’s wages, once the claimant finds employment. Claimants can make payments to the DWD office in Indianapolis, online or by phone, but cannot bring payments to a WorkOne office.

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