Indiana Unemployment Information – Benefits, Eligibility etc.

Last Verified: March 2017

Indiana’s unemployment insurance program is managed by The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The UI program serves as a temporary income replacement for eligible individuals. You can apply for Indiana’s UI program online via Uplink or in person at your local WorkOne Center (WOC). To find the nearest WOC location, click here.

Eligibility

To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must have earned enough wages from an employer covered by the state’s unemployment insurance law. You must have earned those wages in a 12-month period prior to your filing a claim. Additionally, you must be:

  • Able and available to work
  • Unemployed through no fault of your own
  • A US citizen or legally authorized to work in the country

You must register with state’s job matching service IndianaCareerConnect.com within 10 days of filing a claim. You must continue to look for work if you begin receiving benefits.

Eligibility Requirements Explained

Able and available

You must be physically and mentally able to work when you file your initial claim. You must be available to accept any offer of suitable employment. Suitable employment is work that you are trained to do that pays a salary similar to what you’ve made before. The longer you are out of work, the less similar “suitable employment” has to be.

Unemployed Through No Fault of Your Own

Your actions or decisions cannot be the cause of your separation from work to . If you quit, it must have been for a good cause and/or some cause connected to work. If you were discharged, you cannot have been discharged for misconduct. “Misconduct” is defined as actions or inactions that show a disregard for your employer’s interests.

Legally Authorized

You must be able to show you are a citizen or are authorized to work in the US by law (“green card,” etc.).

Wage Earning Requirement and the Base Period

To qualify for benefits, you have to have earned enough wages in your base period, which is composed of the past 12 months/first four quarters of the last five completed quarters in which wages were earned.

unemployment base period
This chart shows the base period.

Your base period includes the first 4 of the last 5 completed calendar quarters before the week you file an initial claim. The wages you earned during those quarters are used to determine if you qualify for benefits and to calculate how much you can be paid. Wages from the last quarter worked will not count towards your base period. You must have:

    • earned a minimum total wages of $4,200 in the base period.
    • earned at least $2500 of your wages during the second half of the base period.
    • have earnings that total at least 1.5 times your highest-quarter earnings.
      • i.e. if you earned the most amount in quarter 3 when compared to the remaining quarters of the base period, you would have to have earned a total amount that is at least 1.5 times greater than the amount you earned in quarter 3.

Calculating Your Benefits

You can use the base period wages to determine how much you will receive each week, the weekly benefit amount (WBA). Divide your total base period wages by 52, then multiply the quotient by .47. Round the answer down to the next whole dollar amount. That will be your WBA.

You may only earn a maximum WBA of $390. The maximum number of weeks you can receive benefits is 26 weeks.

Extended Benefit Payments

When unemployment is high, the state and federal government may approve an extension in the number of weeks you may receive payments. The state program is simply EB (Extended Benefits) and the federal program will come from legislation, like the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act (EUC). Neither program is currently active.

How to Apply for Unemployment in IN

You may apply for benefits online. If you do not have Internet access, visit a claims center where you can access their computers and receive additional assistance.  This general process should be used if you need to:

– File an Unemployment Insurance claim

– Reapply for Unemployment Insurance

– Resume a previously interrupted claim

If applying online, go here to begin the process. You should read over and watch any tutorials in order to ensure your successful completion of the unemployment insurance claim’s filing process. Also, it is highly recommended that you turn off any pop-up blockers! Important information windows may pop up that you will miss unless you allow them through your firewall before beginning the application process.

Make sure to follow any and all instructions given. If you find yourself confused at any point of the application process, do not guess! Call, email, or drop by a WOC location to figure out the best way to proceed. Incorrectly answering questions, skipping questions, or giving the wrong information has the potential to not only get your claim denied, but to also land you in legal trouble! It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to filing for unemployment insurance.

In order to complete the application process, you will need the following information:

  • Your full name, address, and zip code
  • Your Social Security Number – your claim cannot be processed without it
  • Another form of identification (state ID, License, etc.)
  • The names and contact information of your former employer(s)
  • A full and accurate list of dates you worked for your former employer(s)
  • The reason(s) you are unemployed

A claims deputy within the agency’s administrative office will determine if you are eligible for benefits. As part of your application you will need to provide fact finding information or submit the fact finding sheet in addition to your paper application.

Filling out this information as completely as you can will make the application process easier for both you and the deputy. Your most recent employer may be contacted for information regarding your claim from the application. You will be sent a Determination of Eligibility, once the process is completed.

Claim Vouchers and Maintaining Eligibility

Once the DWD grants benefits, you must maintain your eligibility status to continue to receive benefits. In order to make sure you remain eligible, the DWD requires that you submit a “claim voucher” each week via the online claimant self-service center. You’ll answer a series of questions meant to determine whether you remain eligible. These questions cover the following general topics:

  • Whether you are able and available to work
  • Whether you started or quit a new job
  • Whether you refused an offer of suitable employment
  • Whether you made a good faith effort to find work
  • Whether you earned any wages during the benefit week

The questions on the voucher will be more specific. Be sure to answer them carefully to avoid delays in receiving a benefit payment.

Part-time Work and Receiving Benefits

You may work part-time and continue to receive benefits. Your part-time wages may not exceed 20% of your weekly benefit amount of unemployment insurance payments. The state will deduct funds from your WBA if you make more than 20% of your WBA. The state deducts a dollar-for-dollar amount.

Work Search Requirement

When you file a claim voucher, you will also have to answer questions regarding your job searches for that week. The DWD requires that you make at least three job searches each week.

You will have to keep detailed records about the job searches you’ve performed. It’s best to make easily verifiable contacts in case the DWD decides to audit your job searches.

Conducting your job searches and applying for work through IndianaCareerConnect may be the easiest way to comply with this requirement.

Exemptions

If you are temporarily laid off with a specific return date that is within 60 days of your initial claim, you will not have to meet the job search requirements. The exemption also applies to members of union shops and those enrolled in DWD-approved training programs.

Reasons for Denial of Benefits

If you do not meet the wage earning requirements, you will not qualify for benefits. You will receive a notice from the DWD called a Wage Transcript and Benefit Determination that shows how the state determined your qualification and the figures used to calculate your base period wages. You have 10 days to request a redetermination whether the error works against you or in your favor. If you receive benefit payments you shouldn’t have because of an error, you will have to repay those benefits.

Separation Issues

If you qualify based on your wages, the claims examiner will look at the reasons for your separation from work. If you quit without good cause connected to work, or you were discharged for misconduct, the state will deny benefits.

Some reasons for quitting may seem as if you had a good cause. For example, if you quit because you couldn’t find child care for your school-age child, the state would deny your claim. It is not a reason connected to work, but a personal reason. Some issues, like transportation, are you responsibility. You can’t quit because you couldn’t get a ride and receive benefits.

If your actions cause the separation from work, and those actions showed a lack of concern for your employer’s interests, the state may deny benefits. If you were repeatedly late to work, that is an example of actions that disregard the employer’s interests.

Quit and Still Eligible

If your employer did something or failed to do something to cause you to quit the job, you may be eligible for benefits. If your employer made you work in an unsafe environment, you may quit and be eligible. In these cases, you must show you made a good faith effort to work things out with your employer and keep your job. For example, show that you repeatedly notified your employer of the unsafe conditions.

You may quit for reasons not connected to work and remain eligible for benefits. If you had to leave work because you faced a domestic violence situation at home, you may be eligible for benefits. Some exceptions are made for those who voluntarily leave work for other reasons. Contact DWD at 1-800-891-6499 for those exceptions.

Fired and Still Eligible

Your employer may dismiss you for a variety of reasons. However, if the reason does not rise to the level of misconduct connected to work, you may still be eligible. One-time policy violations, if minor, may not be “misconduct.” Mistakes in judgement or an inability to perform the work may not  be “misconduct.”

Non-Separation Issues

You may lose your benefits because you failed to do something required by the DWD. If you fail to conduct a job search as required or you refuse a reasonable offer of work, you may become ineligible. If you become unavailable to work full-time, you may become ineligible. For example, returning to school full-time or starting a self-employment business full-time may make you unavailable for work.

You must remain able to work. However, if you become disabled during the benefit year, you may be able to continue to collect benefits. You will have to notify the DWD of your circumstance.

What Happens When the DWD Denies Benefits

If you are denied unemployment benefits, you may appeal a claim by requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Some things to take note of are:

  • Your request must be mailed (100 North Senate Avenue, Suite N800, Indianapolis, IN 46204) or faxed (317) 233-6888 to the Appellate Division, or delivered to a WorkOne Center within 13 days of the mail date of the Determination of Eligibility.
  • You must include the reason you disagree with the Determination of Eligibility notice.
  • You will be unable to get information on your appeal for at least 7 days after you have filed.

The link provided (http://www.in.gov/dwd/2356.htm)will help assist in any questions you have towards the appealing process. Or, read our guide to filing and participating in the Indiana unemployment benefits appeal process here.

Payments

Indiana law requires a 1-week waiting period before payment begins. As the time continues you must regularly complete your weekly claims online at Uplink.  Payment will be delivered via Visa Prepaid Debit Card. Your benefits will be deposited to your personal card account by the IDWD for your convenience. Like a regular debit card you are allowed to withdraw funds from ATMs and bank tellers. You are allowed 1 free bank transaction each time a deposit is made on your card, while cash withdrawals from PNC Banks and MoneyPass ATMs are always free. You are also allowed to purchase from retailers directly wherever Visa is accepted.

Funds can also be transferred to your personal checking or savings account only by telephone by calling 1-888-393-5866. Be sure to have your card number and PIN available during the transaction. Each transfer takes 1-3 business days to appear in your account, depending on the deposit availability policy of your personal bank. Entering the wrong routing or account number will postpone your transfer and the funds will be returned to your debit card within 5 business days.  Visit http://www.in.gov/dwd/2355.htm to find information on ATM locations and common questions about the Debit Card Program.

Resources

Claimant Handbook 

WorkOne Center

Online Tutorials

Indiana Career Connect

Forms.IN.gov

Calculate Remaining Weeks of Benefits

Accurate and Honest Reporting

Resource Guide for the Unemployed