Indiana ending enhanced pandemic jobless aid next month
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana is dropping out of a federal program that provides an extra $300 in weekly payments to unemployed workers and other programs that expanded unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the decision Monday, saying the changes would take effect June 19.
The changes come as many businesses blame the extra $300 weekly payment with making it more difficult to fill job openings.
Indiana is also ending its participation in a federal program that has made gig workers and the self-employed eligible for assistance for the first time and another that provides extra weeks of aid.
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From Governor Eric J. Holcomb:
INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced that Indiana will end its participation in all federally funded pandemic unemployment insurance programs effective June 19, 2021.
The programs that will end are:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides a $300 weekly add-on to recipients of unemployment insurance
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides recipients extended benefits after their traditional 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits have been exhausted
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides benefits to individuals who do not normally qualify for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed, gig workers, and independent contractors
- Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), which provides a $100 additional weekly benefit for individuals who are eligible for regular unemployment benefits but also earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income
“There are help wanted signs posted all over Indiana, and while our economy took a hit last year, it is roaring like an Indy 500 race car engine now. I am hearing from multiple sector employers that they want and need to hire more Hoosiers to grow,” said Gov. Holcomb. “We have a myriad of work options in every region of our state with many more coming online every week.”
Indiana’s unemployment rate, which jumped to more than 17 percent at the height of the pandemic, has recovered to 3.9 percent. More Hoosiers are in the workforce now than a year ago, and the labor force participation rate is nearing the pre-pandemic level.
“Eliminating these pandemic programs will not be a silver bullet for employers to find employees, but we currently have about 116,000 available jobs in the state that need filled now,” said Holcomb. “I’ve spoken to leaders in the recreational vehicle industry who tell me they could hire thousands of people today, and in the last couple weeks, we’ve seen companies like Amazon, Apple, Toyota, and Milwaukee Tool announce thousands of new career opportunities for Hoosiers.
“We’ve re-emerged from the COVID pandemic and free vaccinations that protect you from the virus are available throughout the state. The CDC has provided guidance that says vaccinated people can feel secure about not wearing face coverings in many circumstances. Day care facilities are open and our economy is humming,” said Gov. Holcomb. “Indiana also offers free opportunities for Hoosiers to skill up and trade up to better jobs. This is where we will continue to concentrate our efforts so all Hoosiers can get on their pathway to personal prosperity.”
On May 11, Gov. Holcomb signed an executive order to reinstate requirements that Hoosiers who are requesting unemployment benefits be actively seeking full-time work beginning on June 1. Work search activities include applying for a job, attending a job fair, participating in WorkOne orientation, or completing an online workshop.
In addition to notifying affected Hoosiers about the reinstatement of work search requirements, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development will notify impacted unemployment insurance claimants about the discontinuation of the federal pandemic benefits.
More information may be found at https://www.in.gov/dwd/indiana-unemployment/individuals/work-search/
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