The Indiana Unemployment Benefits Program

If you’re an Indiana resident who has recently lost their job, you may qualify for unemployment benefits. The State of Indiana can help you get by until you are hired at a new job by providing weekly unemployment payments. In Indiana, workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own can qualify for unemployment benefits. This social safety net is meant to help resident workers who are facing unemployment due to a layoff or in some cases, a firing.

In Indiana (and throughout the country), unemployment benefits are meant to provide you with a temporary stream of income that helps you with daily living expenses until you are able to find a new job. These funds come from a tax that employers must pay — called unemployment taxes — that are collected by the state and paid out to workers who have lost their job. It’s important to know that only employers pay this tax, and it doesn’t come from your paycheck. For that reason, you meet certain Indiana unemployment requirements to qualify for unemployment benefits.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) manages the state’s unemployment benefits program. The DWD also provides services such as job-seeking assistance through its WorkOne centers, which are located throughout the state.

How unemployment works in Indiana

Here’s a quick overview of how the unemployment insurance process works in Indiana.

  1. You must meet three benefit requirements before you apply.  These requirements include: being able, available and actively searching for work; that you lost your job through no fault of your own; and that you earned enough wages during your base period to qualify for payments. 
  2. Apply for unemployment insurance if you meet all the requirements.    You must apply online at The Indiana Department of Workforce Development website.  The Department of Workforce Development uses an Uplink CSS system to process your unemployment benefits application. This system will walk you through the steps of your application and will ask you to input information that will be used to determine if you are eligible for benefits.  It’s important that you file for unemployment benefits as soon as you have lost your job so that you do not lose out on any benefits.
  3. Determine the amount and duration of your benefit.   Your application will be processed as soon as possible, and in most cases, you will hear back from the department within 10 days of filing.  You will receive a wage transcript and a benefits computation form that will explain what you may possibly receive each week and for how long you can receive benefits.  Indiana’s maximum time for collecting unemployment benefits is capped at 26 weeks.
  4. Know how and when you will be paid.   Indiana unemployment compensation is paid weekly. To receive your benefits, the DWD will issue you a debit card, which should arrive within 21 days of the date you file for unemployment. Benefits are only paid through the debit card.  Your weekly Indiana unemployment amount cannot be higher than $390. The minimum amount you can receive is $50.
  5. Conduct an ongoing job search.  You are required to submit proof that you are hunting for a new job. This is managed through a claim voucher system. These vouchers are used to request your benefit payments, and must be submitted online to the DWD or through a WorkOne center.  You’ll be required to submit a voucher each week, and will be required to fill out information that determines if you’ll receive benefits.  The voucher system requires you to have registered on the Indiana Career Connect website, a state-organized job-hunting site.
  6. You can file an appeal if you are denied benefits.  If your claim is rejected, you can file an appeal to see if your benefits will be approved.

IN Unemployment Benefits: Terminology To Know

  • Base period: The first four of the last five calendar quarters that you were employed, excluding the week before you filed for unemployment benefits. The wages you earned during your base period will help the State of Indiana determine what your weekly unemployment benefit amount will be.
  • Benefit period: The 52 weeks following the time you applied for unemployment benefits. You must meet Indiana unemployment benefits eligibility requirements to receive unemployment payments during this time.
  • Benefit year end (BYE): The cut-off date for your unemployment benefits. 
  • Department of Workforce Development (DWD): This is the state agency that handles Indiana unemployment claims, benefits, and other job-related issues. The DWD will guide you through the process of filing for unemployment and will issue your weekly benefit money.
  • Just cause: If you were fired from your job, an employer may have provided a “just cause.” This is the reason you were fired and can disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits in Indiana. Some examples of just cause include damaging company property, lying on a job application, repeated unexcused absences, and violating workplace safety rules.
  • Lag period: The last calendar quarter where you were employed. While you earned wages during this time, this quarter does not count towards determining your unemployment benefits.
  • Maximum benefit amount (MBA): This is the total amount of money that you are able to receive.
  • Offer of suitable work: A job offer that is reasonable, meaning it is relevant to your work experience, is a similar kind of work, provides a similar pay scale, and is available in the same area you previously worked.
  • Wage transcript: A document you will receive following your unemployment application detailing your likely benefit amount and the period of time you may receive benefits.

What Indiana unemployment qualifications should I meet to become eligible?

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Indiana, you must meet several qualifications before being granted unemployment payments.  There are three specific requirements mandated by the Indiana unemployment department that impact whether or not you qualify for unemployment:

Requirement #1: Are you able to work?
Indiana unemployment laws require you to be able to find new work before you can receive benefits.

  1. You must be able to work
  2. You must be available to work
  3. You must be actively searching for a full-time job

Requirement #2: Did you lose your job through no fault of your own?

  • Did you quit your job voluntarily? If so, and your reason for quitting was not work-related, you cannot receive benefits. Work-related reasons for quitting that still allow you to qualify for unemployment benefits include:
  • Worksite safety violations
  • Your previous employer made unreasonable changes to your work duties or conditions
  • Military service
  • Moving to follow a spouse who has accepted a new job
  • Harassment, family violence, or domestic abuse
  • Were you fired from your job for “just cause?” You must be fired for no fault of your own to claim unemployment benefits. Some workplace behaviors that can be cause for firing and that can lead to your application being denied includes:
  • Lying on a job application
  • Repeated absences or lateness
  • Failing to obey safety and workplace rules
  • Conviction or imprisonment for a crime
  • Damaging employer property
  • Showing up to work under the influence of controlled substances
  • Were you laid off from a job? In most cases, employees who lose their jobs to layoffs qualify to receive unemployment benefits while they hunt for new work.

Requirement #3: Did you earn enough during your base period to qualify for payments?

The amount of money you can receive from the Department of Workforce Development as unemployment benefits is based on how much money you earned while working for your last employer. The state will analyze your base period — the last five calendar quarters that you were employed — to determine if you made enough money to be paid out benefits. You should know that your very last quarter of employment, the fifth quarter, is called a lag quarter, and anything you were paid during this time of employment will not be considered. That means only wages from the prior four quarters will count.

  • Your wages must equal at least $4,200 during your base period
  • At least $2,500 of those wages must be during the last six months of your base period
  • Your wages for the entire base period must be at least 1.5 times the highest payment you received in one quarter
  • If you believe you qualify based on these requirements, you have a right to fill out and file an Indiana unemployment application. While there is a good chance your application will be accepted, it is possible that it could be rejected based on special employment circumstances (such as the kind of work you did before becoming unemployed) or in situations where your previous employer chooses to contest your application (which may happen if your reasons for firing do not match). 

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How do I file for unemployment benefits in Indiana?

If you are applying for unemployment benefits in Indiana, you’ll need to have access to the internet. That’s because unemployment claims must be filed online through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development website.

Applying online: The Department of Workforce Development uses the Uplink CSS system to process your unemployment benefits application. This system will walk you through the steps of your application and will ask you to input information (listed below) that is used to determine if you are eligible for benefits.

Before starting the application, you’ll need to have several documents gathered beforehand. These items will be the proof with your claim and will also verify your identity and work history. Having this information ready when you file your application can speed up the process and help you by avoiding a longer approval process.

  • Your full name
  • Your address, including zip code
  • Social Security number — the DWD will refuse your application if this is not included
  • A form of personal identification, such as a driver’s license, photo ID, passport or alien card
  • An email address that you use regularly
  • The name, address, and telephone number of your last employer
  • The hiring and firing dates for your last job
  • The reason why you are unemployed (fired, quit, or laid off)
  • Your most recent paycheck stub

While filing for unemployment may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be. You can read more about filing a claim in our guide on the unemployment application process.

When should I file my Indiana unemployment application?

It’s important that you file for unemployment benefits as soon as you have lost your job. That’s because you will not receive any back-payments for the time between your last day of work and the date you file. In the State of Indiana, you can only receive unemployment benefits for the time after you have applied.

You may be wondering how long the application process will take, and how long it will be until you receive unemployment checks. After applying online through the Uplink CSS system, there’s no need to contact the Department of Workforce Development (unless you are specifically told to do so). Your application will be processed as soon as possible, and in most cases, you will hear back from the department within 10 days of filing.

You should know that there is a mandatory one-week waiting period required after you have filed your unemployment claim. For this reason, you should file as soon as you become unemployed because you will not receive any benefits during this time.

Following the waiting period, the Department of Workforce Development will contact you with information regarding your unemployment claim. These documents — a wage transcript and a benefits computation form — will explain what you may possibly receive each week and for how long you can receive benefits. While it may seem misleading, you should know that these documents are not a guarantee that you’ll receive unemployment benefits.

If you find that any information on these documents is incorrect, or the possible benefits amount seems wrong, you’ll need to contact the DWD. You’ll only have 10 days to fix any issues, so it is important to call as soon as an issue is noticed. 

For errors or questions on Indiana unemployment, contact the DWD:
By phone: 1-800-891-6499
Online: http://askworkone.in.gov

Soon after receiving the wage transcript and benefits computation form, the Department of Workforce Development will send you a Determination of Eligibility. This letter will explain whether or not you’ll receive benefits. If your claim was rejected, the determination letter will explain why, and will give you information on your right to the appeal process. If your claim was accepted — it will specifically say “no penalty” or “no disqualification” — then you are have met Indiana unemployment eligibility standards and can begin receiving unemployment benefits  on the date shown.

How much money will I receive? When will I be paid my unemployment?

In Indiana, unemployment benefits vary from worker to worker because they’re based on your previous wages. Your benefits will be capped at 26 weeks—meaning you can only receive 26 weekly benefit payments. You’ll know ahead of time when your benefits end, because this information will be listed on your wage transcript that also outlines your weekly benefit amount (WBA) and maximum benefit amount (MBA) — the total amount that you’ll be eligible to receive.

Indiana unemployment compensation is paid weekly. To receive your benefits, the DWD will issue you a debit card, which should arrive within 21 days of the date you file for unemployment. Benefits are only paid through the debit card, which can be used to make purchases directly from stores or at an ATM. 

While the DWD will contact you about the specific amount you are eligible to receive and for how long, you can estimate your weekly unemployment benefits by using this formula:

  • Divide your total wages earned during your base period by 52 weeks
  • Multiply by .47
  • Round down to the nearest whole dollar amount

Your weekly Indiana unemployment amount cannot be higher than $390. The minimum amount you can receive is $50.

What do I need to do to receive my weekly IN unemployment benefits?

It’s important to know that unemployment benefits are meant to help you temporarily as you search for work. For this reason, you are required to submit proof that you are hunting for a new job. This is managed through a claim voucher system. These vouchers are used to request your benefit payments, and must be submitted online to the DWD or through a WorkOne center — state job centers that can help you locate work.

You’ll be required to submit a voucher each week, and will be required to fill out information that determines if you’ll receive benefits. Questions you may be asked on a voucher include:

  • Did you work?
  • Did you refuse an offer of work?
  • Did you look for full-time work?

The voucher system requires you to have registered on the Indiana Career Connect website, a state-organized job-hunting site. When submitting your Indiana weekly unemployment claims, you’ll be asked to verify that you have met weekly requirements for job hunting, which mandate that you must have looked for work at three potential employers. It is crucial to regularly check in with this Indiana unemployment website to continue recieving your weekly benefits.

Failing to search for work or forgetting to participate in Indiana unemployment claim filing (submitting your vouchers) means you may lose your unemployment benefits. And, if you miss a voucher, in most cases you will not receive benefits that week.

How long will I qualify for Indiana unemployment benefits?

Indiana’s maximum time for collecting unemployment benefits is capped at 26 weeks, meaning you can only receive 26 weekly benefit payments. In some cases, this time may be shorter based on your maximum benefit amount (MBA). The maximum benefit amount is the total amount of money you can receive during your time collecting unemployment benefits. You’ll know ahead of time when your benefits end, because this information will be listed on your wage transcript. This document also explains your weekly benefit amount (WBA) and the date when your benefits end (called the benefit year end).

If you find a job while receiving benefits but once again become unemployed, it is possible to re-open your claim, even if this happens before your benefit year end. But, you should know that it is rare to receive an Illinois unemployment extension, meaning that you should find new work before your benefit year ends. In extreme cases, such as exceptionally high Indiana unemployment rates, the state may consider extensions on a case-by-case basis.

Even though you may be eligible to receive the full number of benefit weeks, know that it is possible to lose benefits if you:

  • Refuse or fail a drug screening required by a potential employer
  • Refuse an offer of suitable work
  • Fail to go to a job referral provided by a WorkOne center
  • Don’t show proof that you are looking for a job online or through the Indiana unemployment phone number
  • Are unable to work because of an injury or illness

What if my Indiana unemployment claim is denied?  

In some special situations, you may find that the requirements and rules for unemployment benefits differ, usually based on the field you were employed in or the kind of work you did. These circumstances may impact how much money you receive, what you must do to keep receiving benefits, or other factors related to your unemployment claim.

Union hiring hall members: If you are a member of a union hiring hall and have received a “return to work” date that is within 60 days or are receiving an approved form of training, there is no need to report your work searches. This means that you are not required to search for a new job while receiving benefits, but you will still need to submit a weekly work search voucher (with this information noted) to receive your benefits. For any other resident receiving benefits, this Illinois unemployment weekly claim is key to staying eligible for compensation.

Workers dealing with a short-term shutdown: If you are temporarily unemployed because of a short-term shutdown or vacation period, you cannot receive unemployment benefits—even if you are not being paid during this time.

Employees who volunteer for temporary layoffs or work reductions: While it may seem unfair, if you choose to volunteer for a short-term layoff or a work reduction of any kind, you are not eligible to apply for Indiana unemployment. This includes any temporary layoffs, hour reductions, leave, or furloughs caused by an employer’s need to shut down operations for the short-term, including vacations.

On-call workers: If you are employed on an on-call basis, meaning you are an employee who attends work on an as-needed basis with no set schedule and you are paid the same week for your work, you do not qualify for unemployment benefits.


Where can I find more information on unemployment benefits in Indiana?

Losing your job and filing for unemployment benefits can feel frustrating, not to mention the amount of information sort through and understand. For further information on applying for and claiming state of Indiana unemployment benefits, refer to the following sources:

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development website

Indiana unemployment number (DWD)
1-800-891-6499 or 1-317-232-7560

The WorkOne website

Indiana Unemployment Insurance Handbook (DWD)

The Indiana Career Connect Website

Visit an Indiana unemployment office in person
While most resources are available online, sometimes it helps to have an unemployment representative offer assistance in person. You can find a list of Indiana unemployment office locations here.