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Indiana unemployment insurance overhaul continues

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Workers taking voluntary buyouts will no longer be eligible for state unemployment benefits in Indiana beginning Saturday, and severance pay will be counted against unemployment payouts.

The changes are part of Indiana's plan to pay off a $2 billion loan that the state took from the federal government to continue paying unemployment claims.

Lawmakers approved an overhaul earlier this year of how unemployment benefits are paid out and how much businesses pay in to the system. The new limits on eligibility, coupled with new premiums businesses pay, should put the state's unemployment insurance trust fund back in the black, said Huntington Republican Rep. Dan Leonard.

"You can't just continue to pay more and more and more and take in less and less and less," Leonard said.

About a decade ago, when the trust fund had a $1.6 billion surplus, lawmakers expanded unemployment benefits and eligibility, and decreased the amount businesses paid into the fund. But by 2005, the fund was severely depleted. In 2008, the fund was bankrupt, and the state was forced to take the federal loan to cover increasing unemployment claims.

Leonard expects the loan to be paid back by 2018.

Lawmakers first passed increased taxes on Indiana businesses in 2009, to cover the costs of the loan and put the trust fund back in balance. But they reconsidered the measure this year and opted for more cuts to benefits and eligibility to ease the burden on businesses.

The changes come as Indiana and the nation continue to struggle with high unemployment. The state posted an 8.7 percent unemployment rate in August, while the national average stayed at 9.1 percent.

Opponents say the benefits are meant to tide over out-of-work residents while they retrain for new jobs, and cutting the benefits and eligibility makes it harder for them to find new work.

"What these changes do is diminish their ability to retrain for a new career and help Indiana's next economy prosper," said Indiana AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott.

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  • Good move
    Opponents say the benefits are meant to tide over out-of-work residents while they retrain for new jobs, and cutting the benefits and eligibility makes it harder for them to find new work.

    "What these changes do is diminish their ability to retrain for a new career and help Indiana's next economy prosper," said Indiana AFL-CIO President Nancy Guyott.

    Maybe that's what it's "meant" to do but the fact is hords of people don't retrain and look for work, they just keep on taking from the "money tree" until it's barren....and it is!

  • Welfare?
    Unemployment insurance is part of the welfare system.
  • unempl.ins.
    Why not overhaul the welfare system? I can't get any help because I "make" too much on unemployment. Now if I had a child that lived with me, I could get help. I have worked over 45 yrs. and just lost my job. My severance pay was already deducted from unempl. and it took another 7 wks. for me to get a unempl. check. Our goverment needs to weed out the users of welfare.

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  1. By the way, the right to work law is intended to prevent forced union membership, not as a way to keep workers in bondage as you make it sound, Italiano. If union leadership would spend all of their funding on the workers, who they are supposed to be representing, instead of trying to buy political favor and living lavish lifestyles as a result of the forced membership, this law would never had been necessary.

  2. Unions once served a noble purpose before greed and apathy took over. Now most unions are just as bad or even worse than the ills they sought to correct. I don't believe I have seen a positive comment posted by you. If you don't like the way things are done here, why do you live here? It would seem a more liberal environment like New York or California would suit you better?

  3. just to clear it up... Straight No Chaser is an a capella group that formed at IU. They've toured nationally typically doing a capella arangements of everything from Old Songbook Standards to current hits on the radio.

  4. This surprises you? Mayor Marine pulled the same crap whenhe levered the assets of the water co up by half a billion $$$ then he created his GRAFTER PROGRAM called REBUILDINDY. That program did not do anything for the Ratepayors Water Infrastructure Assets except encumber them and FORCE invitable higher water and sewer rates on Ratepayors to cover debt coverage on the dough he stole FROM THE PUBLIC TRUST. The guy is morally bankrupt to the average taxpayer and Ratepayor.

  5. There is no developer on the planet that isn't aware of what their subcontractors are doing (or not doing). They hire construction superintendents. They have architects and engineers on site to observe construction progress. If your subcontractor wasn't doing their job, you fire them and find someone who will. If people wonder why more condos aren't being built, developers like Kosene & Kosene are the reason. I am glad the residents were on the winning end after a long battle.

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