Frye Column: Unemployment Assistance Available During COVID-19 Outbreak

Monday, April 13, 2020 at 6:25 AM

By State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg), column

These benefits will play a critical role in helping us all work together to flatten the curve, beat this pandemic and return to our normal lives stronger than ever.

The past few weeks have been uncharted territory for many of us. The public health crisis is forcing numerous people to stay home, putting the health and safety of themselves, their loved ones and their communities above all else. At the same time, that could mean losing financial stability and income. To help Hoosiers during this outbreak, here is the latest information regarding unemployment assistance at both the state and federal level.

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 all claims will be evaluated. Individuals must apply for UI benefits online, using a computer or smartphone at For questions, the state asks Hoosiers to review the FAQ, the Claimant Handbook or the online video tutorials before calling the state helpline at 1-800-891-6499. This week, an additional 100 workers were hired to help with the extremely high call volume.

According to DWD Commissioner Fred Payne, most Indiana claimants should start receiving their assistance, a $600 weekly benefit, starting the week of April 20. To help Hoosiers receive these funds more quickly, unemployment benefits can be sent electronically. So far, more than 331,000 Hoosiers have filed a claim. Workers who filed for unemployment should know the benefit is retroactive to March 29, 2020, and remains in effect any week of unemployment through July 31, 2020.

With these unprecedented times, unemployment benefits are extending to a variety of workers. Hoosiers who are self-employed, independent contractors (including gig economy workers) and individuals with a limited work history are all eligible for the same $600 benefit with the passage of the federal CARES Act. Since these workers have not been eligible in the past, the state is working to update its systems so these workers can apply for the benefit. They will still be eligible to retroactively receive assistance that started March 29.

These benefits will play a critical role in helping us all work together to flatten the curve, beat this pandemic and return to our normal lives stronger than ever. Myself and state officials are looking at all potential resources to help everyone stay safe to help Indiana get back to work as soon as possible. Anyone who wants to learn more about the assistance that might be available to them, please visit

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