20 Apr Indiana Unemployment Insurance FAQs
Office Re-Openings and Unemployment Insurance
Can a staff member refuse to return to work and continue to collect unemployment payments, even after an office re-opens?
No. If your office has re-opened and you have offered a staff member his or her job back after a firing or layoff, the staff member must either accept the position and stop accepting unemployment, or resign from the practice. Anyone receiving unemployment payments from the state of Indiana must complete a weekly online questionnaire, and one of those questions is whether the recipient has been offered a job. The employee must answer the question truthfully and explain the reason for declining the job offer. He or she can also face steep fines if the state discovers that an offer of employment was made but the employee declined to return to the position and continued to accept unemployment payments.
Should I encourage my employees to file for Unemployment Insurance?
If I lay people off due to COVID-19, will it affect my Merit rate/tax rate next year?
Layoffs due to COVID-19 will not be charged to contributory employers, but will be mutualized to the entire contributory employer pool. More information regarding this will be sent to employers soon. Layoffs by reimbursable employers will be charged to the employer dollar-for-dollar, in the same manner they have always been charged.
If I lay off workers and pay their healthcare insurance coverage through COBRA, how does that impact unemployment insurance (UI) benefits?
If you pay for your employees’ COBRA coverage, this is considered deductible income and must be reported to DWD and could impact the amount of UI benefits a claimant is eligible to receive. (As a reminder, group health plans for employers with 20 or more employees are typically subject to COBRA.)
If I reduce my employees’ hours but they are still employed, are they still eligible for UI benefits?
They may be eligible for benefits, but part-time employment during the week claimed will reduce the amount of benefits paid for that week. If employees do work while receiving benefits, those employees must report any money earned on the voucher for the week they worked, not the week they ultimately get paid for the work. Failure to report money they earned is fraud and can result in denial of benefits, collections actions, and criminal prosecution.
If I pay my employees a bonus during the period of separation, will they be eligible for UI benefits?
Maybe. If you make payments to your employees while they are collecting UI, they may have to declare the payment as deductible income. Sick pay, vacation pay, severance pay, payment in lieu of notice, and holiday pay are all deductible income for the claimant. Bonuses are wages for tax purposes, but they are not deductible income for the claimant, thus they do not impact the employee’s UI benefits.
For more employer frequently asked questions, click here.
Should I file for Unemployment Insurance?
I own and operate my own C or S-type corporation. Am I eligible to apply for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits?
Yes, like any other employee who works for your business, you are entitled to receive employee benefits (including unemployment compensation) so long as you have reported yourself as an employee and paid state unemployment insurance taxes on your wages. Even if you have any hesitation about your eligibility, you are encouraged to apply.
If my employer temporarily shuts down or lays me off because of COVID-19, will I be eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits?
Yes, if an employer must lay off employees due to COVID-19, the employees will be eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits if they have earned enough wages to set up a claim and meet the weekly eligibility criteria. Employees must stay in contact with your employer and be available to work when called back by your employer.
If I am in quarantine based on a directive from my medical professional or my employer due to COVID-19, will I be eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits?
Yes, if you are not receiving sick pay or other leave pay from your employer, meet the minimum amount of wages, and the reason you are out of work is because of the medical quarantine, you will be eligible under Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order during this public health emergency.
If I cannot continue to work because I am caring for one or more children while their school or daycare is closed due to COVID-19, am I still eligible for benefits?
Yes, if you are otherwise eligible, are not receiving sick pay or other leave pay from your employer, meet the minimum amount of wages, and the reason you are out of work is because of the school or daycare closure, you will be eligible under Governor Holcomb’s Executive Order during this public health emergency.
If my hours are reduced but I am still employed, can I apply?
Yes, you may be eligible for benefits, but part-time employment during the week claimed will reduce the amount of benefits paid for that week. To find out if you are eligible, start your application for benefits as soon as you know that your hours are being reduced. If you do work while receiving benefits, you must report any money you earned on the voucher for the week you worked (not the week you ultimately get paid for the work). Failure to report money you earned is fraud and can result in denial of benefits, collections actions, and criminal prosecution.
If I decide to remain at home because of COVID-19 with no directive from a medical professional or from my employer to do so, will I be eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits?
In most cases, no. However, the facts of each circumstance are important. You can file and DWD will evaluate your claim.
If I am not working due to COVID-19 and am receiving sick pay or other leave pay from my employer, will I be eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits?
No, individuals receiving sick pay or other leave pay are not eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. However, the facts of each circumstance are important. You can file and DWD will evaluate your claim.
For more employee frequently asked questions, click here.
How to file for Unemployment Insurance
The following instructions were taken from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development application page but were altered to reflect current Executive Orders and changes in law. As the State of Indiana continues to address the state-wide unemployment rate during this pandemic, the IDA will continue to update and modify these instructions with the most recent information.
Please note: Due to the COVID-19 closures and quarantines, all applicants must apply online by using either a computer or smart phone connected to the Internet.
Step 1: Apply
File an initial application for benefits as soon as you become unemployed. The one-week waiting period for payment was waived by the Governor’s Executive Order on March 26, 2020. The waiver is retroactive to the week of March 26, 2020, and is retroactive to the week of March 8, 2020. This means that benefits will be paid for the first week the individual is eligible. This week of benefits may not appear immediately in the claimant’s account, but DWD is working diligently to get this week added on each eligible claim.
You will need the following information when filing:
- A valid email account – your email address will become your Uplink Username.
- Address, Social Security number, Indiana driver’s license or valid ID, date of birth and phone number.
- Last employer’s name, mailing address, phone number, dates of employment and reason you are unemployed.
- Most recent paycheck stub.
- The bank account and routing number of the account where the payment should be direct deposited.
Step 2: Vouchers
Vouchers must be submitted weekly through the Uplink filing system. Submit your weekly voucher the week following your initial application and each week thereafter. Benefits are paid weekly. Weeks run from Sunday 12:00 a.m. to Saturday 8:59 p.m. EST. Vouchers cover the previous week and may be filed starting on Sunday.
You must submit a weekly voucher even if you have an issue delaying your benefits or are appealing a decision. When a determination is reached all eligible payments will be released.
Step 3: After Filing
Within 10 business days of filing, you will receive a wage transcript and benefits computation form. This does not mean you qualify; it is a statement providing a possible weekly benefit amount and an overall maximum benefit amount should you be eligible. Eligibility will be determined during the first 21 business days if there are no issues with your claim. We encourage you to check your claimant homepage daily throughout this time.
For more information on how to file, click here.
More Indiana Unemployment Resources
- Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD)
- DWD COVID-19 Page
- DWD Video Vault/Tutorials
- Indiana Unemployment Insurance Basics: What Impacted Hoosier Workers Need to Know
- What you need to know from Gov. Holcomb’s Thursday COVID-19 briefing