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Here's What Unemployed Hoosiers Should Know About The American Rescue Plan

Department of Workforce Development

One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many Hoosiers are still relying on unemployment benefits to survive. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law Thursday, intended to provide economic stimulus to those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here's what it means for unemployed Hoosiers.

The federal law will provide unemployed Hoosiers with an extra $300 per week of unemployment benefits and keep federal unemployment programs going through early September. The most recent data shows that even in December 2020, DWD was issuing unemployment payments to more than 200,000 Hoosiers. 

However, before that actually goes into effect in Indiana, the Department of Workforce Development will have to wait for guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor. DWD said it’s working diligently to try to avoid gaps in payments although previous federal benefits are set to phase out at the end of the week.

After the last stimulus package, it took DWD almost a month to implement changes to the state’s system. 

The new law also waives federal income taxes for unemployment benefits up to $10,200. People who filed taxes early may need to file an amendment. However, Hoosiers should note that Indiana is currently still taxing unemployment compensation under state laws. 

Finally, the American Rescue Act Plan could provide laid-off Hoosiers with a six month subsidy to pay for COBRA health benefits. That could help workers who lost group health plan coverage when they lost their jobs, but continued to pay to keep their health insurance. The U.S. Department of Labor is set to issue more guidance on that program in coming weeks. 

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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