Indiana joining federal program for $300 jobless aid boost

Indiana will join a federal coronavirus program providing an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits, although officials said Wednesday it could take up to a month for those payments to begin.

Posted: Aug 19, 2020 10:17 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana will join a federal coronavirus program providing an additional $300 a week in unemployment benefits, although officials said Wednesday it could take up to a month for those payments to begin.

Health officials reported 15 more coronavirus-related deaths across the state, while the number of people confirmed with COVID-19 infections and those undergoing tests continued their recent declines.

JOBLESS AID

President Donald Trump this month signed an executive order extending the added weekly benefit after he and Congress were unable to agree to a broader new pandemic relief plan. The new payment is half the $600 people had been receiving under a previous benefit program that expired last month.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said the Indiana payments would be retroactive to Aug. 1.

It took several weeks for distribution of the initial federal jobless aid to start in Indiana after Congress approved it in March following widespread business shutdowns as the COVID-19 outbreak hit the country.

Payments from new program likely won’t begin for two to four weeks as computer systems are updated, said Fred Payne, commissioner of Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development.

“It is going to take a little bit of extra effort on our part in terms of moving staff to build a new system and that system requires us to look at some new infrastructure,” Payne said.

The $300 payments will more than double Indiana’s average $280 weekly unemployment payment, which has a maximum of $390 a week. Residents will have to be receiving $100 a week in unemployment aid to be eligible for the additional federal aid, a level which Indiana officials said the vast majority of those aid recipients currently met.

Indiana was paying unemployment benefits to about 330,000 people in late July, according to federal statistics.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has said the additional funding may last roughly five or six weeks depending on how many states participate. Indiana’s unemployment rate was 11.3 in June — down from 17.5% in April.

TRACKING SCHOOLS

State officials are working to develop a public website that will track the number of coronavirus cases among students, teacher and other employees at Indiana’s K-12 schools.

Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said her goal was to have website available by mid- to late September and that the information would broken down by individual school.

The public tracking system is being developed as school districts across the state have struggled with reopening decisions.

Holcomb and state health officials have declined to set benchmarks for the circumstances when schools should close their doors to students.

Several of the state’s largest school districts have started the academic year with only online classes. Some opened with in-person classes only to backtrack after facing coronavirus cases.

VIRUS SPREAD

Indiana’s newly recorded deaths raise the state’s pandemic death toll to 3,180, including confirmed and presumed coronavirus cases, in the five months since Indiana’s first fatality was reported in mid-March, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Most of the new deaths occurred Monday or Tuesday.

The 506 new coronavirus cases lowered the state’s seven-day average of newly confirmed infections to 834 on Tuesday. That average has been declining since reaching 945 in early August as the number of tests being conducted has fallen about 10% since late July.

State statistics show that Indiana hospitals were treating 842 patients with the COVID-19 respiratory disease on Tuesday, down from about 1,000 two weeks ago.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110759

Reported Deaths: 3503
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20645758
Lake10172317
Elkhart6321108
St. Joseph600797
Allen5921200
Hamilton4646109
Vanderburgh327129
Hendricks2638121
Monroe236836
Johnson2250122
Tippecanoe218413
Clark210156
Porter203344
Cass19279
Delaware184261
Vigo175722
Madison156575
LaPorte135637
Floyd130061
Howard127063
Kosciusko118717
Bartholomew114557
Warrick111935
Marshall98024
Boone94446
Dubois94018
Hancock90042
Noble87632
Grant86733
Henry75424
Wayne73714
Jackson7319
Morgan69438
Shelby66329
Daviess63927
LaGrange62911
Dearborn62128
Clinton59112
Harrison55624
Putnam5209
Montgomery50221
Lawrence50028
White47814
Knox4769
Gibson4644
Decatur45339
DeKalb44211
Miami4223
Fayette41713
Greene41535
Jasper3802
Steuben3647
Scott35310
Sullivan32812
Jennings30812
Posey2940
Franklin29325
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll26913
Wabash2608
Washington2571
Starke2487
Wells2472
Whitley2476
Adams2403
Jefferson2403
Fulton2302
Huntington2173
Spencer2154
Tipton21522
Randolph2067
Perry20213
Newton17011
Jay1680
Owen1641
Martin1590
Rush1494
Pike1361
Vermillion1250
Fountain1152
Blackford1142
Pulaski1131
Crawford1020
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

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