ANDERSON — Uncertainty surrounds a new law that requires people to have work search histories reviewed, in person, after four weeks of collecting unemployment benefits.
“The unknown is what the volume is going to be for us,” said Greg Richmond, office manager for WorkOne, 222 E. 10th St., Suite B. “Based on the month of July, a year ago, we would have seen 160 people. If we get that kind of response, it is going to be a lot of traffic.”
Richmond said the law, which went into effect on Oct. 1, will put people in touch with the services offered at the local WorkOne offices. WorkOne is a workforce development system that offers free employment services, education and training to job seekers.
Joe Frank, spokesman for the Department of Workforce Development, said the new state law is the same one the federal government required after claiming 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. Since 2010, the federal government extended unemployment benefits through weeks 27 to 63 for qualifying circumstances, he said.
“We noticed it was a very successful program,” Frank said of the federal requirement. “We want people to get a good orientation of our WorkOne services so they can take advantage of them earlier.”
Frank said some of the services offered through WorkOne include review of resumes and interview techniques.
“You will have to show you have searched for three jobs,” he said. “We are really going to dig into their work search and see if we can give them some pointers.”
Richmond said letters of notification are being sent this week to people who have collected four weeks of unemployment benefits. The first orientation and in-person work search review will be Oct. 16.
He said people will be required to bring a current government-issued picture ID and to log into Indiana Career Connect to review labor market information, complete a skills assessment and register to look for work.
Frank said if people are unable to make their scheduled visits they need to make sure they contact their local WorkOne office.
“Ultimately we will delay your benefits until you do get in,” he said. “We are not trying to kick you off the program. We don’t want to withhold your benefits, but we will require you to call us.”
While the WorkOne services are always available, the in-person review of work search histories is only required once, Frank said.
He said the new law will also help to cut down on fraud.
“If we see they are not doing a bona fide work search, then we can cut them off,” Frank said. “That is one of the added benefits — we are going to catch fraud.”
WorkOne can help people complete their education with classes for the high school equivalency exam and provide training for certification programs. He said labor market information can also be provided if someone is considering changing their career path.
“That’s what it is about, getting people back to work as soon as possible,” Frank said.
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Notifications All Hoosiers receiving unemployment insurance benefits will be notified by mail of the requirement, including the time and date of visit, what is required to bring to the visit and what to do prior to the in-person visit. All unemployed individuals must make sure their address is correct in Uplink, Indiana's online filing system to ensure the notice is received. If the in-person visit is missed, unemployment insurance benefit payments will stop. Source: www.in.gov/dwd