DWD Set To Begin Extra $300 Federal Benefits, But Many Could Slip Through Cracks

Sep 9, 2020

Fred Payne, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, gives an update on the agency's actions at a virtual press conference. (Zoom screenshot)

The Department of Workforce Development says it's on track to begin issuing extra $300 payments to unemployed Hoosiers on Sept. 21. However, there are still many unemployed people who won’t get the federal Lost Wages Assistance funds.

Per White House guidelines, Hoosiers have to be approved to receive at least $100 of unemployment benefits in order to get the extra $300. DWD estimates that means roughly 17 percent of those on the state's unemployment program – somewhere between 25,000 to 30,000 Hoosiers each week – don’t receive enough from the state’s unemployment insurance program to be eligible. 

Additionally, claimants waiting to be approved for benefits could miss out on the extra money if FEMA’s $44 billion fund runs out before their issues are resolved. DWD Commissioner Fred Payne said his staff is currently working with federal agencies to deal with that if it happens. 

“I can’t give you a definite answer on that right now other than: Our goal is to ensure that every Hoosier who is eligible will receive the $300 benefit,” he said.

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For the many unemployed workers who are eligible for Lost Wages Assistance, Indiana is currently approved to pay up to six weeks of extra benefits retroactively, backdated to the week ending Aug. 1.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect the additional week of Lost Wages Assistance funds Indiana was approved for Wednesday evening.

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