Hostettler: Help available to Hoosier workers, employers impacted by COVID-19

Posted by: Jordan Wallace  | Wednesday, April 1, 2020

STATEHOUSE (April 1, 2020) – State Rep. Matt Hostettler (R-Fort Branch) encourages 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, 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.

"During this unprecedented time, all levels of government and the private sector are working together to protect the health of Indiana families while understanding the tremendous wave of financial hardships this is causing," Hostettler said. "Our state is swiftly providing relief on behalf of Hoosiers and small businesses, and is pursuing every available option to provide relief."

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.   

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. Hostettler 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.

Hostettler 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 is driven by the success of our local communities, and when our small businesses are hurting our whole state is impacted," Hostettler said. "To help navigate these rough waters, small businesses can use these loans to cover costs and combat the sudden drop in revenue."

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

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. Matt Hostettler (R-Fort Branch) represents House District 64,
which includes Gibson County and portions of Knox, Pike, Vanderburgh and Posey counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.