Indiana Has Paid $1.4 Billion In Unemployment, But System Still Plagued With Issues

May 16, 2020

The Indiana Workforce Development office.
Credit (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

The Department of Workforce Development has paid out $1.4 billion in unemployment benefits since March, with about $440 million coming from the state. Meanwhile, the agency is still dealing with high call volumes and many unresolved claims.

The agency says it has greatly increased its capacity to resolve more issues through automation and increased staffing. However, a single claim could have multiple issues that prevent it from being resolved, either as a payment or a denial of benefits. Many issues require contacting employers and waiting days for a response. 

DWD Commissioner Fred Payne says the agency is prioritizing claims that have been outstanding for many weeks now, but did not say how many people are still awaiting resolution and for how long.

“We’re trending in the right direction here, but we know that it’s not deep enough where every single Hoosier who has filed for unemployment benefits is feeling this positive trend,” he says. 

READ MORE: Governor Holcomb Outlines How – And Why – The State Will Reopen

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In an email, a department spokesperson said it resolved 86 percent of all unemployment vouchers filed since March 8 and, of those, 89 percent were approved to receive payment. It's also paid 88 percent of self-employed workers who applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. 

Payne says multiple agencies are working together on developing a jobs recovery plan. According to the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, more details will be rolled out in early June. However, they encourage people considering changing careers to apply for Workforce Ready grants. 

This story has been updated with information provided by the Department of Workforce Development.

Contact Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.