Beck: It’s time to increase unemployment insurance benefits for Hoosier families with dependents

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INDIANAPOLIS—State Rep. Lisa Beck (D-Lakes of the Four Seasons) today introduced a proposal to House Bill 1111 that would have increased the unemployment benefit rate by adding $25 per household dependent with a cap of $100. The amendment was voted down by House Republicans. Indiana has not increased the unemployment benefit rate since the early 2000s and has not provided benefits for dependents since the 1990s.

“Unemployment benefits are based on average pay, meaning a single employee receives the same amount as someone with dependent children,” said Beck.

“While the max amount paid in Indiana is $390 per week, the average payment to an unemployed Hoosier is $232 per week. As a mother and a wife, I know that it would be very challenging to care for a family on $232 dollars per week.

“My amendment would have supported Hoosier families by offering to someone who is unemployed with dependent children an additional $25 per household dependent per week with a cap of $100. Children should not suffer when their parent’s employment ends.” 

When Hoosiers lost their jobs during the great recession in 2008, unemployment insurance was a critical safety net for Hoosier families. Over ten years later, hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers in Northwest Indiana and across the state are still earning less than they were making a decade ago. At the same time, Indiana has its lowest unemployment rate in more than 10 years.

As currently written, HB 1111 will continue the same rate that employers currently pay for the next five years in order to get the fund up to the level that is recommended by the United States Department of Labor.

As far as Indiana’s neighboring states are concerned, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan have a maximum dependent allowance of $185, $155 and $30 per week, respectively. Currently, Indiana has no dependent allowance.

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