INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Over 26 Million Americans and over 500,000 Hoosiers have filed for unemployment since mid-March.
However, self-employed Hoosiers still have not been able to apply… until now.
“Pretty rough,” said tattoo artist Hank Cunningham. “Not used to not working.”
It’s been over a month since Cunningham has worked. Like most tattoo artists, he’s considered self-employed, and his unemployment claims have been denied.
“Obviously financially draining,” Cunningham said of his situation. “You kind of use up your resources and your savings, hoping something happens soon.”
Even though the rules were changed so self-employed workers could get unemployment, the system wasn’t ready to accept their claims. The Department of Workforce Development fielded over 1,000,000 calls this month, adding to the frustration felt by many who were still waiting for answers.
“I think some of them feel like it’s not going to happen,” Cunningham said of other self-employed workers. “But I think the state is trying to do something to get some relief for this situation.”
The department is launching a new system to approve those applications on Friday, but payments won’t be ready until at least May 8.
“As a reminder, these claims will also take about 21 days to administer,” said Fred Payne, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development. “Just because a person filed on May 7 doesn’t mean a payment will be coming on May 8.”
Now that the wait for unemployment help is nearing the end, Cunningham hopes the wait to return to work is near its end too.
“I hope they consider the tattoo businesses and the hair salons and places like that so when they start re-opening, that’s something they can look at, us getting open soon,” Cunningham said.
So far, the state has paid 350,000 people, totaling $470 million in claims.
Over 75,000 additional Hoosiers applied for unemployment last week.