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.Seal of Indiana

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 

 

50 comments

  • Lisa

    Can someone apply and get unemployment if the company they work for is closing down but has other companies in other cities that I could work at? Meaning, the company I work for is in the city I live in. They are closing down the building in this city. However, they have other buildings in other cities that I have been offered a position at. If I refuse to accept a position at another site will I still be able to file and get unemployment? I am in the State of Indiana.

    • Only if the other positions are comparable and within reasonable driving distance are you are required to accept those jobs. Otherwise, they are unsuitable as they constitute a material change to your employment contract requiring an impractical commute.

      Generally, in Indiana, when a plant closes if the new job offer/location is more than 30 miles away from the current site, it is too far, and therefore unsuitable. You may get a denial if you are dealing with an unknowledgeable interviewer, but should win on appeal. Every now and then some interviewers make mistakes. Exactly how far away are these cities?

  • Terri

    I work for a university..will be off the summer construction on the entire campus.. I have a layoff letter and a return date letter. Will I be eligible for unemployment?

  • Steph

    I have a question. I made 38.50 an hr. full time as a nurse prior to being let go from my job. I have been receiving unemployment benifits for 8 weeks now. I was offered a job 3 days a week at 25 per hr with no benefits. Did I compromise my unemployment benefits? Will I be denied now because I am in need of full time work with benefits?

    • You are not required to accept part-time work, nor work that pays substantially less or has fewer/no benefits than you had earned previously. Report the job refusal as unsuitable. You want full-time work comparable to your prior position.

  • Katie

    Hi,
    I have received 3 letters now stating that I am eligible for benefits and I have been claiming week’s for 4 weeks now. I have yet to receive a debit card and or a letter or email regarding a phone call. What happens from here?

  • Brad Fales

    I am taking a new job in the state of Texas. We are moving may 12 and and moving into our new place may 19. My wife and I both work for the same company in Indiana, but she does not have a job in Texas like I do. Will she qualify for trailing spouse benefits and when and where does she apply? Our last day of work is also may 12.

  • alex

    I am currently collecting unemployment benefits in IN. I am looking to start a business but I know that my income stream will not “flow” for several months. Can I still apply for benefits while I pursue my business.
    Thanks.

    • States allow self-employment work. As long as you continue to search for full-time work and this new endeavor does not interfere with your work searches and ability to accept full-time work, you continue to certify for benefits. If startup activities take all your time, do not claim.

      If you begin to see a profit from this SE work, you report the net income after expenses when you claim weekly benefits. If that should happen and the income is sporadic, Indiana will want to know why the income isn’t consistent. At that point, you need to assure Indiana this a SE work done while you are searching for full-time work and this does not interfere with job searches and you would accept suitable full-time work if offered.

      Read p. 17, here: http://www.in.gov/dwd/files/Claimant_Handbook.pdf

  • Emily R

    Is the 26 weeks that one can receive unemployment benefits a lifetime total, or is that each time you file for unemployment?

    I was laid off in Feb 2014 and received unemployment benefits for about 12 weeks, and then got a new job and stopped filing for unemployment. When I log into my account it says I have 14 weeks left.

    I am going to be laid off at the end of this month, and was planning to file for unemployment again while I look for work. Does this mean a new claim will start, and the 26 week clock will re-start, or will I only be able to receive benifits for 14 weeks?

    • There is no lifetime limit on the number claims or weeks available. You are allowed one Indiana claim per any 52-week period. The number of weeks paid per claim is determined by the amount of earnings in the base-period for this claim.

      Your current claim has a benefit year Jan. 2017-Jan. 2018. Under that claim you were awarded 26 weeks benefits which you can claim at any time during that benefit year.

      When you are laid off at the end of this month, because you are within the benefit year, you REOPEN the current claim and continue to claim the remaining 14 weeks’ benefits until the claim is exhausted or the benefit year expires, whichever comes first.

      If you are still unemployed at the end of the 14 weeks, you cannot apply for another claim until Jan/Feb 2018 when the current benefit year expires.

  • Rachel

    I’ve been working as an intermittent for the state for 3 years. As an intermittent, I am laid off for one month during a 12 month period. Currently, I have been working 3 days a week, getting paid $9.81/hr. I have recently found out that my position will be opening up to full time position but the state will not offer it to me because I am still going to college and can’t work Mon-Fri (7-3) like they want. So they are terminating my intermittent position and hiring another full time within a month. Would I still qualify? Or not? Because it’s a part-time intermittent position?

    • Unemployment benefits are paid to full and part-time people. Fwiw, your benefit should be roughly $102/wk., possibly more – for 26 weeks. Fyi, the one-month hiatus would also have been eligible for benefits.

      Absolutely, apply for benefits when this position ends.

  • Green

    I moved to Indiana in May 2016. I worked part time jobs until October 2016. For the past 6 months I have been working full time (base+salary), but now I have a new manager who is clearly looking for a ln excuse to fire me. He is also adding responsibilities to me that were not in my job description. He says he will change my title at work. On top of that, I signed a 12 month commitment when I came on board that says I have to pay back all commission if I quit within 12 months.

    Am I eligible for unemployment if I am fired now after working 6-7 months? I don’t understand the whole base period/quarters work requirement.

    Can I quit due to then changing my role from the original job description, even though I signed a 12 month commit?

    I want to quit and find a new job but I don’t want to pay back commission. And if I’m fired I want to make sure I can secure unemployment.

    • No, you can’t quit because of material changes to your employment contract. You should have done that last October, after first addressing the grievance with employer asking to revert to original job duties/pay. You are now presumed to have accepted these new conditions as suitable.

      If you are fired, unless employer can prove misconduct, you would be eligible for benefits. Wait for the discharge.

  • Julie

    My employer cut my base salary and went to a commission only structure. Because they are a start up, contracts are still in negotiation. Therefore, there aren’t any commissions to receive. Since February, I have been working without pay. My employer says she can lay me off, so I can receive unemployment benefits. However, she still wants me to assist her in closing some of the deals I am currently working. Once those close, she will pay me the commission I am due. Is this allowed?

    • Employer must pay you on W-2, with applicable taxes FICA and UI taxes paid by her, for this commission work when the work is finally completed. You need to avoid ANY appearance of commission-based/SE/1099 income being your LAST job before applying for benefits.

      If she won’t do that, then employer needs to lay you off immediately and avoid any disclosure to Indiana that you were working for 1099 commission – or you need to immediately quit due to a material change in terms of your employment contract – i.e, no pay/change to commission. IN may want to know why you didn’t quit immediately.

      States are very particular about SE work. You don’t want any appearance of that or questions raised on that issue.

      Simplest solution is for you to stay on and for her to pay your final “commission” as W-2 earnings.

  • Brenda

    By signing the separation agreement am I agreeing not to collect unemployment benefits?
    It says here I am not to discuss the agreement with anyone except my spouse & attorney.

    • The agreement is between you and your employer.

      Unemployment benefits are mandated and administered by the State of Indiana. Neither you nor your employer have an agreement with the State of Indiana not to pay you benefits.

      That agreement, no matter if you agreed not to apply for benefits, is UNenforceable relative to your rights to collect Indiana unemployment benefits.

      Apply for benefits.

  • Jennifer

    I am currently receiving partial unemployment earnings because I was let go from my full time employeer and I still have a part time employeer. If I am offered another part time job and except it am I still qualified for unemployment benefits? (working 2 part time jobs still making less than the WBA).

    • Yes, you can continue to file claims and report earnings from both jobs – assuming the total hours worked for both jobs together doesn’t equal “full-time” work. Indiana will determine the correct amount of benefit to be paid.

  • Robert

    How do you know your approved…where does it say it on my uplink acount..all it says is qualified with relief does that mean I’m approved?

    • That may or may not mean approval. How long ago did you file for benefits? Actual approvals normally take at least three weeks from date of filing, best case. Qualified with relief means (1) you are monetarily eligible for benefits and (2) should Indiana make an error in approving your claim, employer’s account will not be charged for your benefits. Continue to file weekly certifications. You should receive an approval letter and/or money in your account. Sometimes you get the money before you get the “approval.”

  • Ash

    What does base period vol quit and qualified with relief mean?

    • Base period = 12-month period of earnings which determine benefit. Apply now, the base period is October 1, 2015-September 30, 2016.

      Vol quit = voluntary quit

      Relief = to the employer if current separation is disqualifying and you apply for benefits in the future – i.e., current employer can’t be charged for a future claim if those wages appear in a future base period.

      • Ryan Camplin

        My initional claim says this also. But it is seperated more like:
        Issue type: Base Period Vol Quit
        Decision: Qualfied W/Relief
        So, does the “voluntary quit” reference an employer from the base period, or from when the claim was filed?

        • References the earlier base-period quit. Apparently, Indiana has determined the quit was for good cause, or you’ve purged any penalty related to it. If Indiana has made a mistake in approving this claim, employer has the right to later request relief from any charges against its account.

  • Lisa

    I am currently receiving unemployment benefits. I will be starting a job tomorrow (01/09/2017) I will not get my first paycheck until 1/27/2017. Will I be eligible to fill out my voucher for this following two weeks, until I get my check that third week?

    • If you claim those weeks, you MUST report GROSS EARNINGS for each of those weeks – even though you will not be paid until 1/27. Indiana will NOT pay you because you are working. Unemployment benefits are paid only to those who are NOT WORKING.

      If you do not report those earnings when claiming benefits, you are guilty of fraud and subject to a variety of penalties under the law. In effect you are getting paid twice – unemployment benefits and wages for the same weeks.

  • Trish

    I am currently working out of state, but am still a resident of Indiana. Would I be eligible for UE benefits if I quit my job in order to find a job in Indiana? The cost of staying in the other state during my work week is getting to be too much.

    • You apply for the benefits in the state you are working, not the state where you live – unless you are working for an Indiana employer, in which case it may be reporting your wages to Indiana. That said, depending on that state’s laws, travel time, distance, expense factors connected to the work can be good cause for a quit provided they are hardship and make the job not cost-effective which is a subjective issue, but you may need to appeal to get benefits, which means a few months before benefits can be paid.

      • Trish

        They withhold taxes for both the state where I’m working, and Indiana as well.

        • State income taxes which you are required to pay have NOTHING whatsoever to do with FUTA (Federal Unemployment Tax Act) taxes which are paid by the EMPLOYER to the state to which it reports your income for unemployment benefit purposes.

          Only three states require the employee to pay minuscule, teeny tiny amounts toward the unemployment insurance benefit tax – those are Alaska, NJ and PA.

          So, the question is: To which state is the employer paying FUTA taxes on your wages? Normally, that’s where you apply and it’s that state’s rules on good cause quit which determine eligibility.

          However, length of employment in Indiana is also an issue. Apply in Jan. 2017, your base period will be October 1, 2015-September 30, 2016. IN will deny if none of your wages appear in that base period – in which case your only other option, if you quit, is to apply in the state where your earnings appear for that base period.

  • I am 69 years old, have never received unemployment benefits. If I take a voluntary retirement from my employer and receive a lump sum severance pay how will my unemployment benefits be affected?

    • Indiana says this:

      Severance Pay:
      Severance pay for all individuals will be deducted from unemployment insurance benefits. For example; if
      you receive 8 weeks of severance pay, you will not be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits until
      week 9.

      http://www.workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/pdf/istate_agree_recip_cov.pdf

      If you are receiving substantial severance, you may need to strategically delay filing so as to exhaust the severance and still preserve sufficient wages in the base period for a full claim and enough time within the benefit year to exhaust those benefits.

      How much severance are you receiving in weeks?

  • Dennis

    How do they calculate base quarterly earnings? Is it my gross less insurance less anything else?

  • Amber

    I was working part time 28 hours a week making 10.00 a hour. My boss didn’t give me any warning they were cutting down to 2 days and because she thought it wasn’t worth me driving to another town for she hired another lady for my two days and told me I’m as a back up which I don’t think is right to just not do that because I’m not going to work with them ever that way. Can I still file for unemployment I am a single mother of a 10month old.

    • Yes, apply for benefits. The two days you are working will offset your benefits substantially, however. You might be better off asking for a restoration to your original schedule, otherwise you will have no choice but to consider this hours reduction a material change in your terms of employment, in fact it is a discharge and offer of new, unsuitable, employment. Federal law provides for a quit under those circumstances.

  • Craig R

    I was downsized after 13 years on the job on 11/18/16. I have applied for benefits, but am wondering to make up for some of the shortfall in lost income, how much can I earn part-time and still receive my full benefit amount? I want to work but am afraid that securing a full-time position may take a few months. Thank you! cr

  • I was laid off from my job 03212016. I file for unemployment benefits but my claim was denied stating my wages were below the required minimum. I called the state unemployment office this morning and was told to file again on 04032016. I am trying to determine if I am eligible to draw. My wages for 2015 were $11,560. I know that figure needs to be over $4,200 so I am OK there. Next I was told they look at two quarters. I don’t know which quarters they look at. Can someone help me please????

    • Indiana says this on its base period:

      “You must have earned total base period wages that are 1.5 times greater than your highest quarter wages
       You must have earned at least $4,200 during the base period, AND
       You must have earned at least $2,500 during the last 6 months of the base period.”

      Which means if you apply on April 3, Indiana will look at earnings January-December 2015. You need to determine high quarter wages during that period and then be sure total wages for that twelve-month period are equal to 1.5x your high quarter – AND that you earned at least $2,500 between July-Dec.

      Applying in March gave you a base period if October 1, 2014-Sepember 30, 2015 – in which period you didn’t probably didn’t meet the 1.5x high quarter for total wages OR didn’t meet the $2,500 for last six months.

      Explained in the Indiana handbook, here:

      http://www.in.gov/dwd/files/Claimant_Handbook.pdf

  • My company for past 13 years is liquidating. Starting next week I will be on part time (20-24 hours) until laid off in approx. 2-3 weeks. Does being on part-time basis disqualify me from receiving unemployment benefits.

    • Because Indiana only allows you to earn 20% over your weekly benefit amount, your part-time earnings will eliminate most of any unemployment benefit due – and require a second investigation by Indiana when the job ends permanently. The better, simpler and faster way would to apply when the job is eliminated entirely. Indiana processing is fairly quick – and if the Indiana DWD is aware of the layoff, it shouldn’t take long before benefits are approved. Maximum weekly Indiana benefit is $390. Which means if you work, Indiana will deduct the gross amount of your part-time earnings from the Partial Benefit Rate of $468 ($390 + 20%) – assuming you are entitled to the maximum – and pay the difference, if any.

      More info on how benefits are calculated, here:

      http://www.in.gov/dwd/files/Claimant_Handbook.pdf

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