State Agencies Fielding Thousands of Calls about Unemployment, Essential Businesses

Efforts to help ease the economic impact of the state’s stay-at-home order were shared during Tuesday’s press conference with Governor Holcomb and other state officials.

Indiana Department of Homeland Security Executive Director Steve Cox noted that the call center set up to take questions from essential businesses and industries was quickly overwhelmed. “But we were able to get it up and running after about an hour,” he added. “As of 2:00 p.m. today, we’ve received over 1,000 calls in the center.”

The hotline can be reached at 877-820-0890. Cox said it should only be used by the businesses themselves, not individual employees. Additional information, including a list of essential businesses, can be found at

As for how COVID-19 is affecting individual workers, Indiana Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Fred Payne said he’s seen an unprecedented number of newly-filed unemployment insurance claims. “Just to put this in reference for you, yesterday alone, we fielded over 38,000 phone calls with our contact center asking questions along the lines of, ‘How can I apply?’ and ‘Who is eligible?’” Payne said.

Payne explained that every Hoosier who has worked and is out of work for no reason of their own is eligible to apply, including those impacted by temporary layoffs. Additionally, those who are quarantined or forced to stay home because of school closings can also qualify. Payne said you can apply online at

“On the website, you’ll find plenty of tools to help guide you through the process,” Payne explained. “There is a frequently-asked questions section. There is actually an online handbook, and there’s also a video tutorial that can help you through the process. If you have further questions, you can reach out to one of the contact centers, and we’ll ensure that we call you back and answer your questions.”

On top of that, a series of webinars are being scheduled to help individuals and businesses. Governor Holcomb said the state is also working on ways to help those who are self-employed, and he expects that more details about that will be shared on Wednesday.