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Indiana Takes Unemployment Filings Online Amid COVID-19

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is encouraging individuals to file for unemployment insurance benefits online, through a computer or smartphone and will be providing webinars.

by Joseph S. Pete, The Times / March 20, 2020

(TNS) — Temporary layoffs have been taking place across Northwest Indiana and the nation after the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has infected more than 200,000 people worldwide, forced people to hole up in their homes and put small business owners in a difficult spot. Government directives have led to the closures of restaurants, bars, movie theaters and other businesses.

A Ball State University study found one out of every six workers in the United States could temporarily lose their job or see reduced hours as a result of social isolation meant to contain the global coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration has warned the unemployment rate could climb as high as 20%.

In response, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development suspended rules requiring that unemployment seekers or recipients have to appear in person at Work One branches for the next four weeks, including to prove they are seeking new jobs. The state agency is encouraging people to steer clear of the unemployment offices and file for unemployment insurance benefits online, on a computer or smartphone.

"The DWD will also request flexibility under federal and state law to expand eligibility for claimants and ease burdens on employers," the state said in a news release.

The state agency will host two live 30-minute webinars at 10:30 a.m. March 24 and at 3 p.m. March 25 for unemployment seekers impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Displaced workers can learn about unemployment eligibility requirements, benefit amounts, and how to apply for benefits.

Visit on.in.gov/UI2020 to register in advance or www.in.gov/dwd/19.htm to watch the programs after they aired.

For more information, visit unemployment.in.gov.

©2020 The Times (Munster, Ind.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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