Updated: Monday, 02 Aug 2010, 7:43 PM EDT
Published : Monday, 02 Aug 2010, 7:43 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS-(WISH) - About 8,000 Hoosiers are getting letters in the mail regarding this last tier of benefits. First of all, it may be weeks before you get your benefits. Secondly, when you do, be very careful when you fill out your vouchers. In the words of a WorkOne employee, "One strike, you're out."
The Department of Workforce Development has an online site that serves as a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers. The site called Uplink allows the unemployed to file claims, check claim status, and find out how much money they have. While hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers will get money, to the tune of 54 million bucks of benefits in the coming days, 8,000 Hoosiers are getting a letter in the mail telling them they need to go to a WorkOne office to apply for the final tier of benefits: the Extended Benefit program or EB.
"It was very upsetting when I received the EB letter Friday saying that it wasn't just going to be going back into the state system and renewing my waiver, I'm going to have to go through a completely new process of registration, which might take up to 21 more days."
This unemployed former CEO of a media company who wishes to remain anonymous says, 21 more days for someone who has been without benefits for 8 weeks adds insult to injury. He had hoped to be able to quickly collect the 8 weeks in retroactive benefits he believed would be made available though the federal extension bill signed recently by President Obama.
When he visited his local WorkOne office, a WorkOne manager relayed disturbing information about his extended benefits.
"She goes basically it's like this, 'One strike and you're out.' And I said, what do you mean one strike and I'm out? She said, 'You'll be out if you make any errors while filing your claim or if we find out you're not out filling out applications or looking for jobs.'"
We then asked Marc Lotter, the Department of Workforce Development spokesman, whether a claimant is at risk of losing his or her benefits by making an innocent filing mistake.
"I would encourage each claimant to double check their voucher before they hit submit to make sure what they're answering is in fact what they mean to tell us because this is a program that has zero tolerance. I would say you're at risk," said Lotter.
It's important to remember that EB is the last tier of benefits. These are people who have exhausted 26 weeks of state benefits, 53 weeks of the federal unemployment, and now are using the last 20 weeks of benefits allowed.