Self-employed people receiving pandemic assistance receive reimbursement requests – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana weather
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Hoosiers who needed a lifeline during the pandemic are now being told they have to pay back all the money.
Several people contacted News 8 for help.
Indiana’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA) has provided benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors, and others who are generally not eligible for unemployment. Federal funds funded state programs under measures first enacted in March 2020 by President Donald Trump.
Now an unknown number of Hoosiers, including Lynn Moreau, have been told they have to pay everything back. Moreau, owner of The place of eyelashes, has over half a century of experience making sure every last hair is perfect. His business, like many others, was forced to close in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Your property taxes continue. Your bills continue. Your income comes to an abrupt halt, ”Moreau recalled.
Even when she was able to reopen, business was down 75%.
“No one goes to church. Nobody goes to clubs. Nobody goes to gatherings, ”Moreau said. “Our business is to look good to do these things.”
Moreau estimates his business is still down 50%.
She and the other employees filed the necessary paperwork for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to make up for lost income.
In April, she saw an online notice stating that she had to provide proof of employment. She said she hadn’t heard from the state until then. – No, said Moreau.
Moreau said she sent the required documents, but two months later, in June, just a few weeks ago, she finally learned she had been turned down.
“I received a notice that they want to get everything back. They want to get $ 10,000 back, ”Moreau said. “It’s rather disheartening. You don’t have much faith in what’s going on here.
Moreau plans to visit the Indiana Department of Workforce Development in person on Thursday for answers, taking with her a decade of tax forms to back up her case.
“I certainly don’t want to pay him back. I don’t think I owe it to them, ”she said. “I wonder how many people have this problem because it’s not fair.”
News 8 also spoke to another person with a similar history at their business.
Unemployment assistance for the Indiana pandemic ended on June 19.
News 8 contacted the Department of Workforce Development on Tuesday afternoon. They were unable to speak individually about Moreau’s case, but returned a statement.
“The most probable causes are either a finding of fraud, or a finding that the claimant has not provided proof of employment. In either case, the applicant would have received an eligibility determination with an explanation. As for proof of employment, this is a requirement that Congress implemented when it upheld CARES Act benefits through the Continuing Assistance Act. Applicants on PUA are required to submit proof of employment within the time limits set by federal law, otherwise they forfeit PUA benefits paid under the Continuing Assistance Act.
Indiana Department of Workforce Development