LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb joined the growing list of Republican governors who are ending federal pandemic unemployment benefits. If you are currently collecting unemployment benefits and receiving an additional 300 dollars a week on June 19th.. those benefits will no longer be available. Other unemployment benefits programs will also be ending.
The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation which extends benefits after their traditional 26 weeks of eligibility will end. So will Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which provides benefits to individuals who do not normally qualify for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed, gig workers, and independent contractors. Plus Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation will end. This benefit provides a $100 additional weekly benefit for individuals who are eligible for regular unemployment benefits but also earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income. In a statement, Holcomb explained his decision.
“There are help wanted signs posted all over Indiana, and while our economy took a hit last year, it is roaring like an Indy 500 race car engine now. I am hearing from multiple sector employers that they want and need to hire more Hoosiers to grow,” said Gov. Holcomb. “We have a myriad of work options in every region of our state with many more coming online every week.”
Businesses large and small in Indiana are in need of workers. Franciscan Health is just one of a long list of employers who are in desperate need of filling open positions. Terry Wilson, the CEO of Franciscan Health in Lafayette, says that their lack of staffing has caused some cafeterias and coffee shops on the hospital campus to have had to limit hours or close.
"Many of the areas we need workers are in nonclinical kinds of jobs such as food service and environmental service security guards and so forth," said Wilson. A small coffee shop at the central campus supports our employees on campus and nursing students on this campus and it's closed down most of the time right now because of staffing," said Wilson.
While employers are having issues hiring employees, COVID-19 long-haulers like Misty Herre says they're still feeling the consequences of catching the virus.
"Everybody thinks that it's a free ride that we are taking federal money,” said Herre. “We have paid into this, we paid taxes, it's not our fault that we can not come to work."
Misty was diagnosed with COVID-19 in October of last year. She previously worked as a certified nurse's assistant. She says since contracting COVID-19, her health has declined drastically and she can't get a clear answer from medical professionals on when her health will be back to normal.
"Some doctors say that they really don't know. Some doctors say it could be permanent,” said Herre. “I didn't ask for this. And I don't know what we are going to do now."
Misty has been getting an extra 300 dollars a week from unemployment. She tried returning to work but wasn't able to because of her declining health. She hopes the Governor will reconsider for people who are still suffering the after-effects of COVID-19.
"It's not just me it's going to affect. It's thousands of people,” said Misty. “They say that the long-haulers are very rare. They are not rare."
According to a recent article from The Journal of The American Medical Association around 10 percent of COVID-19 patients become long haulers. Governor Holcomb's announcement today followed an executive order he signed on May 11th that reinstated work search requirements on June 1st for those requesting unemployment benefits.