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Thousands of Hoosiers waiting for unemployment benefits due to COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 10:34 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 15:55:32-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Thousands of people are trying to file for unemployment after the COVID-19 pandemic has left without a job.

Like millions of people across the country, Joe Buschman is worried how his family is going to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic. His mom, who has been a hairdresser for 40 years, is now out of a job.

"Well she was laid off at work Regis Hair Salon in Monticello, Indiana due to COVID," Buschman said. "They were forced to closed due to being non-essential."

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When his mom went to file unemployment and hit a road block when she clicked on "laid off or lack of hours," Buschman says.

"She called the unemployment office and was on hold for over two hours and finally got a person and the person said someone would reach out to her within two weeks to determine is," Buschman said.

He says his mom can't wait three weeks for someone to reach out to her because she is on a fixed income.

While he understands the system may be overwhelmed right now, he hopes they can streamline it and make it easier to help people.

"When that box is checked it just should be get the money flowing," Buschman said. "There shouldn't be a delay. You shouldn't have to wait and talk to someone who's taking 210,000 phone calls."

State officials say so far this week 146,000 people in Indiana applied for unemployment benefits. By Thursday, staff members at the unemployment office had 210,000 phone interactions by Thursday.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development hired 77 new employees to help answer unemployment claims. The first wave of additional employees will begin work next week.