Hoosier CARES Act benefits explained

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WANE) – President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act into law on March 27. Monday afternoon, Commissioner of Indiana Department of Workforce Development Fred Payne explained how Hoosiers will receive CARES act benefits.

The act is a $2 trillion dollar package aimed at fighting the economic damage from the coronavirus crisis.

Payne first explained the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, or PUC.

With this, anyone eligible to receive regular unemployment benefits under state law will get an additional $600 in weekly benefits.

The $600 benefit under PUC is effective as of March 29 and payable for any week of unemployment through July 31. Benefits will be payed retroactively.

Secondly, Payne discussed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA.

It creates temporary unemployment insurance, a program for individuals for who do not otherwise normally qualify for for unemployment insurance benefits, but would be working if not for COVID-19. This includes the self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and those who have a limited work history.

Claimants receiving regular unemployment benefits should start seeing those payments hit the week of April 20. However, Payne anticipates the new program will take a bit longer for those under PUA.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is experiencing a slowing down of their unemployment operation system due to volume. This has caused delays for some to get into the system and has stopped others from getting into system all together.

Last week, they announced hiring 77 additional workers and expanding bandwidth. Monday, they began phasing in new employees.

The department has also contracted with a third party provider to assist with their call center. Starting Tuesday, there will be an additional 100 people supporting them on a contract basis.

“This moment in time is unique and is presenting us with facts and circumstances that are changing rapidly,” Payne said. “We’re putting new systems in place in a number 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 we have the changes needed on a quick basis while providing system stability for the transfer of the necessary benefits to those in need. At this time I’ll continue to ask that you remain patient with us as we move forward in this process.”

Payne said they will be updating the public on a regular basis.

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