Fulton County legislators highlight help available to Hoosier workers, employers impacted by COVID-19

Posted by: Jake Thompson  | Thursday, April 2, 2020

STATEHOUSE (April 2, 2020) – Fulton County legislators are encouraging Hoosier workers and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic to access recently expanded state and federal resources for help.

Under Indiana's temporary "stay-at-home" order, many businesses deemed not essential have laid off staff or cannot pay employees while they are shut down.

To help, State Rep. Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville) said Gov. Eric Holcomb 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 lack of child care options.

"Our state is in a strong place financially to ensure more Hoosiers can receive these benefits in a streamlined fashion," Gutwein said. "We all must do our part to slow the spread of this virus, and utilizing these resources will help those in need get assistance while they're out of work."

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said 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 smart phone at Unemployment.IN.gov. For questions, the state asks Hoosiers to review the Frequently Asked Questions, the Claimant Handbook or the online video tutorials before calling the 1-800-891-6499 helpline, which continues to experience a high volume of calls.   

According to State Rep. Jack Jordan (R-Bremen), Indiana waived the one-week waiting period for payment of unemployment benefits, and it is retroactive to March 8, 2020. Qualified claimants can typically receive benefits for up to 26 weeks, but this has been extended by an additional 13 weeks. He said thanks to the action of the federal government, unemployed workers who file and are approved will see an extra $600 per week for four months.

"Without doubt, every person in our community is affected in some way by this health crisis," Jordan said. "It's my hope we get through this quickly, however, this pandemic could have long-lasting impacts on Hoosier families and businesses. That's why programs to help get through these difficult times have been extended and expanded."

State Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) said 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 financial 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 impact. The loan interest rates for small businesses and nonprofits are 3.75% and 2.75%, respectively, with terms up to 30 years.

"Our hope is these loans will help small businesses make ends meet and stay afloat throughout the pandemic's duration," Manning said. "While we have noticed an outpouring of support for our local companies, it is clear more assistance is needed to give them the chance to bounce back."

For more information and to apply for a small business loan, visit SBA.gov/disaster. Hoosiers can also contact 1-800-659-2955 or disastercustomerservice@sba.gov with additional questions.

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State Rep. Douglas Gutwein (R-Francesville) represents House District 16, which
includes all of Pulaski County and portions of Fulton, Jasper, Newton and Starke counties.
Click 
here for a high-resolution photo of Gutwein. 

State Rep. Jack Jordan (R-Bremen) represents House District 17,
which includes all of Marshall County and a portion of Fulton County.
Click 
here for a high-resolution photo. 

State Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver) represents House District 23,

which includes portions of Cass, Fulton and Miami counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.