The coronavirus has upended our lives in a multitude of ways.
With many businesses and all schools temporarily closed to help prevent its spread, numerous Hoosiers find themselves suddenly unemployed or trying to work from home while simultaneously taking care of their children and families. Many are stressed and worried about their health and economic well-being.
State officials are working to address this public health crisis and its effects on a number of fronts.
For those who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they can file for unemployment benefits online at unemployment.in.gov. These benefits are available to anyone who has lost their job through no fault of their own. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development has a list of FAQs online at in.gov/dwd to help Hoosiers navigate the application process. At this time, claims can only be filed for unemployment online. The one-week waiting period before benefits start has been suspended by the governor during this crisis.
Small-business owners can apply for low-interest loans of up to $2 million. The Indiana Small Business Development Center is available for advice and applicant assistance. They can be reached online at isbdc.org or by calling 812-345-1141. To apply for a loan, visit sba.gov/disaster or call 800-659-2955. Additional questions can be answered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many parents now working from home may be struggling to find a balance between performing their job duties and caring for their children. Indiana's website, childcarefinder.in.gov, helps Hoosiers search for licensed and regulated child care providers near home or work, and Hoosiers can also call 800-299-1627. Children displaying any signs of sickness should remain home until they are better.
Families needing help paying for child care can utilize their regional Child Care Resource and Referral Agency for support referrals. The bureau serving Lawrence County can be reached at child-care.org or 866-200-5909.
For children staying home, the Indiana Department of Education offers free resources for parents that can help children continue their education until schools can reopen. Lessons are arranged by subject level and grade, and there are also links to educational companies with free program and information on low-cost internet service. These remote learning resources are on IDOE's website at doe.in.gov.
Countless families may be grappling with how to reassure their children during this public health emergency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a guide for parents on how to talk about COVID-19 with their children, including how to protect yourself from it and what happens if you get sick. This information is at cdc.gov/coronavirus.
Hoosiers needing assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Medicaid should visit fssabenefits.in.gov. Currently, the job search requirement for receiving these benefits has been waived and Medicaid recipients with chronic conditions can get up to a 90-day refill on prescriptions.
There may be other hardships households are facing during this difficult time, such as struggling to pay utility bills or a need for mental health services. Indiana 211 is a free service that can help Hoosiers quickly and easily find needed resources. The organization recently joined with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and the United Way to provide additional assistance for those needing to connect with health and human services in the community. The service also launched a website containing information and links for COVID-19 resources, including addiction services and housing assistance. Just call 2-1-1 or visit them online at in211.org.
Access resources and stay updated on the coronavirus pandemic and the state's response by visiting in.gov/coronavirus or call Indiana's COVID-19 Call Center 24/7 at 877-826-0011 with general questions. The call center cannot provide medical advice or test results.
Rest assured, the state is activating all of its resources to address this pandemic to save lives and get Indiana back to work as soon as possible. While this is an unprecedented time, Hoosiers are resilient and we will get through this together.
State Rep. Chris May (R-Bedford) represents House District 65, which includes all of
Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties.