Hamilton County lawmakers encourage Hoosiers impacted by COIVD-19 to seek unemployment benefits, small business loans

Monday, April 6, 2020

STATEHOUSE (April 6, 2020) – Hamilton County lawmakers encourage Hoosier workers and small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic to access recently expanded state and federal resources for help.

House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) and State Reps. Tony Cook (R-Cicero), Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville), Donna Schaibley (R-Carmel) and Jerry Torr (R-Carmel) said 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, 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.

"We are taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to helping hardworking Hoosiers and employers during this unprecedented public health crisis," Huston said. "From expanding and streamlining unemployment benefits to helping struggling small businesses, our state and the federal government acted quickly to put much-needed resources in place. We are all in this together, and I'm confident we will bounce back stronger than before."

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. Cook said individuals must apply for UI benefits online, using a computer or smart phone at Unemployment.IN.gov.

"Our state has taken many critical steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, and Hoosiers who are now out of work should consider applying for unemployment benefits through Indiana's website," Cook said. "While WorkOne offices across the state are closed, professionals and online resources are still available to help walk Hoosiers through the process of filing a claim."

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.   

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. Goodrich 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.

"As we continue to navigate this outbreak, we know the number of Hoosiers who are out of work is increasing exponentially," Goodrich said. "Our hope is these expanded resources will help Hoosiers mitigate the financial strain, so they can continue paying their bills and meeting their needs." 

Schaibley 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.

"Indiana's small businesses suddenly found themselves having to shut down or change their business model because of the substantial losses in revenue," Schaibley said. "These businesses are critical economic drivers for our communities and state, and these loans can help them continue to operate until we recover."

Torr said businesses' merit rate/tax rate will not be impacted if they lay off employees due to the coronavirus.

"Hamilton County is home to many small businesses that serve as cornerstones of our communities, and they should not be penalized for making decisions to protect their businesses until this public health situation subsides," Torr said. "We want these businesses to be able to come back stronger than before, and operating at full speed soon."

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.


State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of

Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.

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State Rep. Chuck Goodrich (R-Noblesville) represents House District 29, which includes portions of Hamilton County.

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House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) represents House District 37, which includes portions of Hamilton County.
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State Rep. Donna Schaibley (R-Carmel) represents House District 24, which includes portions of Boone and Hamilton counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo. 

State Rep. Jerry Torr (R-Carmel) represents House District 39, which includes portions of Hamilton County.
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