State limits on jobless benefits take effect Friday

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Indiana residents who fail or refuse a drug test given by an employer before they're hired will soon be unable to claim unemployment benefits.

The change is one of many resulting from new laws passed by the General Assembly that take effect Friday.

Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Mark Everson says the changes will help ensure that only the truly unemployed receive benefits.

Lawmakers voted in February to restructure the state's unemployment insurance system, reducing the amount businesses pay in state taxes to reload the indebted fund from which payments are made. This year, the changes would lower an increase in premiums from $866 million to $723 million.

At the same time, it will trim worker benefits 25 percent.

Other circumstances under which people will not be eligible for unemployment benefits beginning Friday include people who refuse work during any week when they work on an on-call or as-needed basis.

The new provisions also will make workers employed at a business during a planned short-term shutdown ineligible for unemployment. Head Start program employees who are on planned breaks such as summer vacation also will be ineligible.

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