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Hiring Hoosiers: Weekly $600 unemployment benefit arrives April 20

Rhonda Wilson.JPG
Posted at 10:00 PM, Apr 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-06 22:00:34-04

LAFAYETTE — For those who are now unemployed because of COVID-19, an extra $600 a week will be coming your way.

The U.S. Department of Labor is allowing states to provide the additional $600 weekly to support American workers and their families during this challenging time, however, that money won't be put in Hoosiers' pockets for at least two more weeks.

Like many in the restaurant industry, Rhonda Wilson, who works at a local tavern in Lafayette serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, is without work until her boss says they're allowed to open their doors to customers again.

"We are a small business and when our doors are closed, even for carryout, it just isn't enough to keep workers working," Wilson said. "You're still getting your phone bill, you're still getting your electric bill, you still got to feed your kids."

Wilson, like others, was excited when she heard unemployed workers across the country would be eligible for an extra $600 weekly compensation boost detailed in the CARES Act. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, benefit payments were able to begin last week, but officials said it will vary by state.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development on Monday announced that the benefit will start being paid out to workers on April 20.

"If the president has already signed this and released this package, I just don't understand why people have to wait when the help is there," Wilson said.

Kevin Betz, an attorney specializing in employment law, said there is an enormous demand and low supply of people to process unemployment claims. Betz said people should be patient as the state does their best to work within federal guidelines.

"We have too much work to do, too many applications to process in this period of time," Betz said. "This was an avalanche."

People will receive retroactive payments back to their date of unemployment eligibility. The payment period is March 29 through July 31.

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