The COVID-19 outbreak has Hoosiers experiencing unprecedented difficulties, including our hard workers and small-business community. Unemployment insurance is a critical resource to help those impacted by this public health crisis. A new process for Hoosiers who are self-employed, independent contractors and “gig” workers is now in place for them to apply and receive crucial unemployment benefits.

Under the federal CARES Act, Hoosiers who do not typically qualify for unemployment benefits may now be eligible through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, which is a temporary federal unemployment insurance program. It applies to individuals who are self-employed, independent contractors, including “gig” economy workers, people seeking part-time employment and people who lack sufficient work history but would be able to work if not for the public health crisis.

To be eligible for this program, Hoosiers must first file for traditional unemployment insurance and be denied. If a claimant has already done this step, they will have a “To Do” on their application, found on the claimant’s homepage. Once this step is completed and the PUA application is approved, workers can expect to see payments within approximately 21 days.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is targeting Friday, May 8, to begin administrating these payments. The benefits will be calculated retroactively to March 29 for every week of unemployment an applicant experienced, and include an additional $600 weekly benefit from the federal stimulus.

These benefits play a crucial role in helping families during this pandemic and return to work stronger than ever. Unemployed Hoosiers who have not started the unemployment insurance application process can visit to apply or learn more about these benefits.

To learn more about how Indiana plans to reopen its economy, please visit