INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In just a matter of days, Indiana will end its participation in the federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program, which means recipients of unemployment benefits will get hundreds of dollars less each week.
News 8’s David Williams spoke with one family that’s concerned about what that could mean for them.
Giovanni Chavez, 33, is searching for work and he’s concerned about what the loss of the added money, $1,200 a month, could mean for his family. “I’ve been out here trying to figure it out with jobs. I’ve been applying, hoping someone contacts me back.”
He got laid off from his jobs as a billing supervisor in April 2020 and relies on the unemployment benefits. “It’s been a nightmare really.” Chavez said. “I’ve got kids, I’ve got bills.”
Those benefits, especially the extra $300 a week that comes in from the federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.
“Right now, I’ve just been trying to save the last few checks. Hopefully, I can find work before that runs out,” Chavez said.
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In May, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Indiana would end its participation in the federally funded unemployment insurance program on June 19.
“Honestly, it makes me nervous,” Chavez said. “It makes me nervous, because I don’t know.”
“That $1,200 is definitely helping a month, you know?”
Holcomb said in May there are “help wanted” signs across the state and employers told him they want and need to hire more Hoosiers to grow. The Republican governor added that Indiana’s labor force participation rate is nearing the prepandemic levels, with thousands of jobs available statewide. In May, Holcomb said, “Every day, I’m hearing from business owners who say I’m only posting half of what we can hire. So, we’re restricting growth by keeping people on the sidelines.”
Chavez has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration.
Until he gets a call back from the many full-time jobs he’s applied for, he said that he’s doing “side jobs.
“Just continue to pray. Hopefully something ends up turning up and I can do what I’m called to do here.”
An Indiana Department of Workforce Development spokesperson says it has notified people who are affected by the end of the federally funded program. The spokesperson tells News 8 the department sent the following information to claimants:
“Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced that Indiana will end its participation in the 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 extended benefits after the traditional 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits are 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 or PEUC but also earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income
“What this means for you? If you are receiving one of the above federal pandemic programs, the last payable week is for week ending June 19, 2021.
“DWD will continue to investigate and resolve vouchers filed for these programs for weeks up to June 19. Continue to file your weekly vouchers timely so there is no delay or denial of benefits.
“Also, Governor Holcomb recently signed Executive Order 21-13 that brings back the requirement that claimants need to search for work to receive unemployment insurance. You must be able, available for, and actively seeking full-time work starting with benefit week June 6-12, 2021.
“What does this mean for you? Starting the week of June 6-12, 2021, DWD will review your answers to the weekly claim questions about being able, available, and searching for work. If your answers show that you may not be able and available, or were not searching for work, your benefits may be delayed or denied. Find more questions and answers regarding work search requirements at www.unemployment.in.gov, link to Work Search.
“You can find other online job search and training resources below:
“Hoosier Talent Network: Job-matching and career-planning site powered by artificial intelligence to help Hoosiers find the right job and uncover new opportunities. www.in.gov/dwd/job-seekers/hoosier-talent-network/
“Workforce Ready Grant: Pays the tuition and fees for eligible high-value certificate programs at Ivy Tech Community College, Vincennes University, Indiana Institute of Technology, or other approved providers. www.in.gov/che/state-financial-aid/state-financial-aid-by-program/workforce-ready-grant/
“180 Skills: Delivers free high-quality, online, technical, employability, and compliance manufacturing skills training aligned with the needs of employers. www.180skills.com/free-indiana-training/
“InDemand Jobs: Focuses on high-demand, high-wage jobs for today and tomorrow. The demand indicator used is based on a methodology that ranks all Indiana jobs based on future growth and wages. https://www.indianacareerready.com/indemandjobs
“Also, Hoosiers can visit their local WorkOne center to learn about reemployment services. WorkOne locations can be found here: www.in.gov/dwd/WorkOne/locations.html.”Indiana Department of Workforce Development