How to Apply for Unemployment in Indiana

by Kailey Hagen | Updated July 17, 2021 - First published on March 30, 2020

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The Indiana state flag flying in front of a decorative building facade.

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Indiana workers laid off due to COVID-19 can get some financial assistance from unemployment benefits.

Indiana workers laid off due to COVID-19 can get some financial assistance from unemployment benefits.

Every state has been affected by COVID-19, including Indiana. What started as a health crisis has also become a financial crisis as businesses have shut down to slow the spread of the disease. This threatens the financial security of thousands of workers who depend on their paychecks, but unemployment benefits can lessen the blow.

Help is available from a number of sources, including unemployment benefits. If you're in Indiana, here's everything you need to know about unemployment, including who qualifies, how to apply, and how much you'll get each week.

Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

Workers in Indiana must check the following boxes in order to get unemployment benefits:

  1. You must be unemployed or have had your hours significantly reduced through no fault of your own.
  2. You must be able to work and actively seeking work.
  3. Your past earnings must meet certain standards, as discussed below.

Indiana has been slow to react to the sharp increase in unemployment applications due to COVID-19. Many other states have waived their work-search requirements during the pandemic, but Indiana has yet to make a similar announcement. However, it has said that recipients who receive letters requiring them to set up an in-person review of their work-search activities can ignore these requests for the time being.

The state uses a base period to determine whether your earnings qualify. This is the first four of the last five completed quarters before you applied for unemployment. That's October 2018 to September 2019 for those who apply in March 2020 and January to December 2019 for those who apply in April 2020.

You must have earned at least $4,200 in total, and at least $2,500 of that money must have come in during the last six months of your base period. Also, your total wages in your base period must be at least 1.5 times the wages you earned in your highest-earning quarter. So if you earned $3,000 in your highest-earning quarter, you must have earned at least $4,500 during your base period.

How do I apply for unemployment benefits?

You will need to create an account on the Indiana Department of Workforce Development website. Have the following information ready:

  • Personal information such as your Social Security number and address
  • Your driver's license or state ID card number
  • Employment information for the past two years, including:
    • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all of your employers
    • Start and end dates for each job
    • Check stubs for your most recent employer(s)
  • Information about other income you're receiving (i.e. pension, retirement savings, vacation pay, severance)
  • Bank account information for direct deposit

You must submit weekly vouchers through your online account to request your unemployment payments, even while your application is being processed. There's usually a one-week waiting period, but Governor Holcomb has waived this during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How much money will I receive in unemployment benefits?

The most you can get from Indiana unemployment benefits is $390 per week. Use the following formula to calculate your benefit amount:

  1. Total up all of your base period earnings.
  2. Divide this amount by 52.
  3. Multiply this by 47%.
  4. Round down to the nearest whole dollar.

For example, if you earned $30,000 during your base period, you'd get $271 per week. You will also be able to claim an additional $600 per week in benefits thanks to the recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

How long can I collect unemployment benefits?

You can claim unemployment benefits in Indiana for up to 26 weeks. Keep in mind that if you find new employment, you must stop claiming benefits, even if you haven't reached your maximum benefit amount yet. However, the CARES Act extends that period by 13 weeks, allowing you to collect unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks.

What if my unemployment claim is denied?

If your unemployment claim is denied, you can file an appeal within 10 days of the date listed on the Determination of Eligibility you'll get in the mail. You must complete a written statement including your name, address, phone number, Social Security number, and the reason you believe your determination of ineligibility was incorrect. Mail or fax this to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development Appeals Division.

Unemployment benefits may not give you all the security of a steady job, but it can help ease the strain on your finances during this difficult time. Apply today if you think you qualify.

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