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Fact Check Friday: Unemployment claims under scrutiny

Posted at 1:57 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 14:01:45-04

INDIANAPOLIS — While many Hoosiers have finally returned to work, some are still looking. And while they search, they say they are waiting a long time to see unemployment benefits show up in their bank accounts.

The push to get people back to work is behind the changes to how people file for unemployment. But there are still many people asking about their benefits.

On this Fact Check Friday, here's the question: How many unemployment claims are still being reviewed?

At one point, the pandemic forced 785,000 Hoosiers to seek unemployment. More than $6.5 billion has been paid out.

But many claims still remain on hold, because they are deemed to have what the Department of Workforce Development calls "Characteristics of Fraud."

Here's your Fact Check: 2.3 million weekly voucher claims are still being reviewed.

The claims go back to March of 2020. Exactly 2.3 million people don't represent individual people, however, since one person could file multiple requests for benefits.

Hoosiers can normally collect a maximum of $390 in unemployment. During the pandemic, the feds kicked in an extra $600. The total for eligible Hoosiers was up to $990 a week. In the latest wave, the extra amount is $300, so the total could be $690.

And for the first time ever, workers in the so-called "gig economy," like Uber drivers, were able to collect unemployment benefits totaling $600.

If the majority of the 2.3 million claims involve the $600 extra payments then the state is holding onto nearly $1 billion.

The state is not disclosing any figures connected to the possible amount of fraud that it's investigating.