Chesterton Tribune



Benefits available for workers small biz impacted by pandemic

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Northwest Indiana legislators are urging Hoosier workers and small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to access recently expanded state and federal resources for help.

Under Indiana's "shelter-in-place" order, many businesses deemed non-essential have laid off staff or are unable to pay employees while they are closed. To assist those businesses, Gov. Eric Holcomb has expanded unemployment coverage to those impacted, including Hoosiers whose work hours were reduced, those under medical quarantine, and employees who cannot continue to work because of a lack of childcare options.

"Indiana is pulling together the necessary resources to help Hoosier families, employees, and small businesses," said State Rep. Mike Aylesworth, R-Hebron. "At all levels we are working toward the same goals, protecting our families and communities and accelerating the state's economic recovery."

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said that Hoosiers should file for unemployment insurance if their employment has been interrupted or ended due to COVID-19, and their claim will be evaluated. Individuals must apply for UI benefits online, using a computer or smartphone at

For questions, Hoosiers may review the Frequently Asked Questions, the Claimant Handbook, or the online tutorials before calling the (800) 891-6499 helpline, which continues to experience a high volume of calls.

"Our state is in a strong place financially to ensure more Hoosiers can receive these benefits in a streamlined fashion," said State Rep. Doug Gutwein, R-Francesvile. "We all must do our part to slow the spread of this virus, and utilizing these resources will help those in need get assistance and stay safe."

Indiana has waived the one-week waiting period for payment of unemployment benefits, and it is retroactive to March 8. Qualified claimants can typically receive benefits for up to 26 weeks, but this has been extended by an additional 13 weeks. Unemployed workers who file and are approved will see an extra $600 per week for four months.

Meanwhile, small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofits can receive up to $2 million in low-interest loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program to help meet finanical obligations and operating expenses, which could have been met had the disaster not occurred. The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster's effect. The loan interest rates for small businesses and nonprofits are 3.75 percent and 2.75 percent respectively, with terms up to 30 years. For more information, visit or call (800) 659-2955.


Posted 4/2/2020




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