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Indiana to end all federally funded COVID-19 unemployment benefits

Posted at 11:11 AM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 10:13:48-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Monday that Indiana will stop providing federal COVID-19 pandemic unemployment benefits for people who are out of work on June 19.

Holcomb cited the number of businesses looking for new employees as his reasoning for ending the state's participation in the programs.

Many businesses blame an extra $300 weekly payment and the ease of obtaining unemployment benefits with making it more difficult to fill job openings.

The four programs that will end include:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides a $300 weekly add-on to recipients of unemployment insurance.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides recipients extended benefits after their traditional 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits have been exhausted.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides benefits to people 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 people who are eligible for regular unemployment benefits but also earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income.

“Eliminating these pandemic programs will not be a silver bullet for employers to find employees, but we currently have about 116,000 available jobs in the state that need filled now,” Holcomb said in a news release. “I’ve spoken to leaders in the recreational vehicle industry who tell me they could hire thousands of people today, and in the last couple weeks, we’ve seen companies like Amazon, Apple, Toyota, and Milwaukee Tool announce thousands of new career opportunities for Hoosiers."

In a statement, the executive director of the Indiana Democratic Party criticized Holcomb's decision.

“The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on why a living wage is necessary in order for Hoosier families to have a shot at a better future in Indiana," Lauren Ganapini said. "So while Governor Holcomb is guiding Hoosiers back to a pre-pandemic normalcy, we cannot ignore the reality that it's time for Indiana to increase its minimum wage and provide better opportunities for our workers.

"Over 892,000 Hoosiers currently earn a minimum wage job, and while it's a goal for every worker to achieve their highest potential, we must do everything possible to create a bridge to help all Hoosiers succeed.”

Holcomb signed an executive order last week that will reinstate requirements on June 1 that people requesting unemployment benefits be actively seeking work. According to the state, work search activities include applying for a job, attending a job fair, participating in a WorkOne orientation or completing an online workshop.

Holcomb noted Indiana's 3.9% unemployment rate for April, which was down from the pandemic peak of 16.9% a year earlier.