Thousands filing for unemployment in Indiana amid coronavirus pandemic

Indaina (WNDU) - Thousands of Hoosiers are filing for unemployment after the coronavirus pandemic left many without a job.

But the Indiana Department of Workforce Development says the surge of unemployment has forced their hand to add additional staff to expedite the unprecedented number of claims, calls, and delays.

Fred Payne, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said in a virtual press conference with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb on Monday that DWD has contracted with a third party provider.

The move will allow 100 more people to help run DWD's call center, which in recent weeks had failed to adhere to the amount of unemployment claims being filed.

Last week, Payne says DWD also hired 77 additional staff members and expanded their bandwidth to compliment the large amount of calls and applications coming in for unemployment. .

"Were putting new systems in place in matter of days and weeks when in normal times, it would take months or even years to put these processes into place. That's why we must remain nimble, nimble enough to make sure that we can have the changes needed on a quick basis why providing system stability for the transfer of the necessary benefits to those in need," Payne says.

While unemployment filing issues are on the way to being solved, questions wander about when Hoosiers will receive their insurance benefits.

According to Payne, anyone who has lost their job as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and eligible to receive unemployment benefits under state law should expect to see payments to start to hit in the week of April 20th.

Hoosiers eligible for regular unemployment benefits will get an additional $600 that will be paid retroactively to March 29th and payable for any week of unemployment through July 31st.

However, Payne says it may take a little longer for self employed workers filing for unemployment such as independent contractors, nonprofit employees, or gig economy workers, to receive their benefits.

"We anticipate the new program under PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) for those self-employed, independent contractors, etc., to take a bit longer," Payne says. "At this time, I'll continue to ask that you remain patient with us as we move forward."

If you want to learn more about unemployment benefits in Indiana, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development will hosting a DWD Facebook Live event Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

For more information on how to file for unemployment in Indiana, click here.