Indiana casino workers who find themselves out of a job, help paying your bills could be available. Situations like this are an example of why companies around the state pay into unemployment insurance programs.
There are some important things to know when filing a claim. This is important information right now because the American Gaming Association (AGA) estimates 98% of casino employees have felt the effects of casinos shutting down across the country.
Info on Indiana unemployment benefits for casino workers
The first thing to know is whether or not you qualify for benefits. Fortunately, new federal guidelines give Indiana more flexibility in this regard.
Even if your employer just reduced your salary or wages, you may still qualify for some benefits. Additionally, if you left your casino job voluntarily to avoid the risk of exposure, you may still be eligible.
If the casino plans to re-hire you after the shutdown, you may apply for benefits regardless. The new federal guidelines provide for temporary job loss as well.
The state of Indiana, not the federal government, actually administers unemployment insurance in your state. If you file a claim, you must do so with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
Although offices for the Department are currently closed to the public, it’s possible to file a claim completely online or over the phone. The number to call is 1-800-891-6449.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has reiterated the federal government’s stance toward providing benefits for Hoosier State residents. A press release quoted Holcomb:
“The state will interpret Indiana’s unemployment laws to the broadest extent possible to cover Hoosiers who are out of work because of COVID-19.”
That could mean waiving assessment requirements that mandate benefit recipients actively seek work and normal requirements for workers to hold a job for a certain period of time. For those who accrued unused paid time off before the casino shutdown and choose to use that PTO, the state will continue to count that time for unemployment insurance purposes.
How do I know whether I qualify for benefits?
Before you can go about applying, it’s crucial to know whether you qualify. As of July 1, 2011, you qualify even if your job loss is temporary.
While state law normally requires companies to notify employees at least 60 days prior to the shutdown date in order for employees to qualify for unemployment benefits under the “planned short-term shutdown” statute, that requirement is waived in this instance. There are still some elements necessary for your eligibility, however.
Normally, you must earn at least one and one-half times your wages in the highest quarter of your base period. Your base period includes the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the week you file an initial claim.
Put more simply, you will need to have worked for an Indiana employer for at least five quarters to be eligible in normal circumstances. As previously mentioned, however, the state may make exceptions for workers who have lost jobs due to their employers shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
If you have received severance pay or have accrued paid time off, you are not eligible until you exhaust that compensation. If you’re uncertain about your eligibility, it’s better to file a claim as soon as you can and let the Department evaluate your case.
What do I need to file a claim online in Indiana?
All you need is a computer or a smartphone and a little bit of information. Once you’ve got everything together and a little bit of time, log on and file your claim.
The information you need includes:
- A valid email account
- Your physical address
- A valid Indiana ID such as a drivers license
- Your Social Security number
- Your date of birth
- A phone number the Department can reach you at
- Your last employer’s name or company name
- The mailing address of your last employer
- A phone number for your last employer
- The date that the employer hired you and the last day you worked
- The reason you are unemployed
- Your bank account and routing numbers (if you choose to receive direct deposit)
Hopefully, life in Indiana will resume as normally as possible soon. In the meantime, the state provides some security for Indiana casino workers through this program.