Your Senate Democrats are closely monitoring the COVID-19 (2019 novel coronavirus) situation and working closely with the Indiana Governor, Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and the US Center for Disease Control (CDC).
We understand that there are many questions and unknowns right now. It is important Hoosiers have access to correct information and we recommend following only official, government and professional health care news and advice. These can be found on the various Indiana state agency websites and your local governments, hospitals and department websites.
- If you believe that you are sick
- Please contact your healthcare provider if you experience symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath and have a recent history of travel to areas affected by COVID-19 or contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Further guidance from the CDC on preventing the illness: cdc.gov
COVID-19 and Department of Health Information
- For virus-specific and health information, the ISDH offers up-to-date information on its website: https://www.in.gov/coronavirus/
- General questions from the public or healthcare provider inquiries about COVID-19 may be directed to the ISDH COVID-19 Call Center at the toll-free number 877-826-0011 (available 24/7) or email [email protected]
Hoosiers ordered to stay at home
Governor Holcomb ordered Hoosiers must remain in their homes except when they are at work or for permitted activities, such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies, and for health and safety. To find out what this means for you and a list of some essential businesses, visit this FAQ page.
District specific resources:
Click on your district to find resources on local cities, towns, school districts, food banks, etc. To find which district you are in, go to http://iga.in.gov/information/senate_district_map/
- Participants in the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are not required to make premium payments during the public health emergency.
- Job search requirements are waived for those applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) benefits during the public health emergency, which ends on April 4.
- The Family and Social Services Administration will seek a federal waiver to extend renewals for existing Medicaid and HIP recipients.
- HIP and Medicaid will suspend all copays until the end of COVID-19 emergency.
- Members’ eligibility that would have expired will stay on the rolls.
Participants in the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) and the Children’s Health Insurance Program are not required to make premium payments during the public health emergency.
For more information and answers to FAQs, please visit https://www.in.gov/fssa/5756.htm.
Federal Law now guarantees sick and family leave for those affected by COVID-19
Beginning April 2, you are entitled to the following per federal law:
- Two weeks (80 hours) of paid sick leave if you are unable to work because you are quarantined and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- Up to an additional 10 weeks of expanded family and medical leave if you are unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed
- More details on the guidelines for this new law can be found here
Resources for Workers
- The Department of Workforce Development is working with the federal government to broaden eligibility requirements cover those displaced from work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will post updates to those guidelines here when they are available.
- The state will interpret Indiana’s unemployment laws to the broadest extent possible to cover Hoosiers who are out of work because of COVID-19.
- Benefits will still be paid to individuals who file their initial unemployment claims late.
- The Department of Workforce Development will allow individuals to continue to accrue unemployment eligibility if they take work leave because of COVID-19.
- DWD will seek federal authorization to provide unemployment benefits for those who are not otherwise eligible for unemployment, such individuals who have recently started a job.
- For employers, DWD will not assess certain experience rate penalties because of employees who receive unemployment benefits because of COVID-19.
- Please apply online for unemployment benefits if your income or job has been affected by COVID-19, even if you are not sure if you are eligible.
- DWD will work with you to determine eligibility after you apply.
- The DWD has suspended the one-week waiting period, allowing applicants to receive unemployment benefits more quickly
Click HERE for a list of frequently asked questions regarding unemployment eligibility.
To apply for Unemployment Insurance electronically, visit the Indiana Department of Workforce Development: https://www.in.gov/dwd/19.htm
- The commissioner of the state Department of Insurance will request that insurers institute a 60-day moratorium on policy cancellations for non-payment of premiums. This does not suspend a policyholder’s obligation to make payments.
- The commissioner will ask health insurers to cover COVID-19 testing without requiring prior authorization.
- The commissioner will request that health insurers not increase prices or coverage costs that involve medical care for COVID-19.
For more information, please check with your insurance provider or email [email protected].
Bureau of Motor Vehicles
- To limit the number of in-branch transactions, late fees will be waived for several driver’s licenses and identification card renewals, vehicle registrations, titles, and certain other transactions.
- Other operational changes in branches are being instituted to provide for the safety of employees and customers in branches, such as spacing between terminals and limiting the number of customers in the lobby.
For a list of transactions that can be completed online, please visit https://www.in.gov/bmv/.
- Requirements have been relaxed for veterans to qualify for awards from the Military Family Relief Fund.
- The IDVA director may approve awards in excess of $2,500 during the public health emergency.
To file for relief funds go to https://www.in.gov/dva/2329.htm.
There are a number of health providers offering telehealth services during the outbreak so patients in need can receive care without risking further spread of COVID-19 by going to a facility in person.
For telehealth options, see list below:
Information for Families – Child Care, Health Services, Access to Food, etc.
- Visit the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration website for information on First Steps services, childcare, developmental disability services, nursing homes, and psychological aid: https://www.in.gov/fssa/
- Every county will maintain an open Division of Family Resources office, which can found here: https://secure.in.gov/apps/fssa/providersearch/home.
- The Milk Bank – Donate milk to prevent shortages (babies in intensive care): https://www.themilkbank.org/media-1/2020/3/13/covid-19-statement-from-the-milk-bank?rq=statement
- Hoosiers with chronic health issues will be able to receive a 90 day supply of their non-controlled prescription (including insulin and cholesterol medicine)
- Medicaid recipients can use their benefits to cover the cost of transportation when traveling to health appointments
- FSSA is using additional funding flexibility to continue delivering meals to families
- The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), in partnership with the state’s food banks, the Indy Hunger Network and Feeding Indiana’s Hungry, has developed a statewide, interactive map that will help Hoosiers seeking food assistance find what they need. Click here to see the map: https://www.in.gov/fssa/dfr/5768.htm
- There are two types of organizations shown on the map: food pantries and meal sites. Food pantries are locations where Hoosiers can pick up groceries to prepare and use at their homes. Meal sites serve packed meals, ready to take home and eat.
- The Indiana National Guard is being deployed to six food banks across the state to help sort and pack food for distribution to food pantries.
- The food banks are in Marion County (2), Bloomington, Lafayette, Fort Wayne and Merrillville.
- The Indiana National Guard will also work at mobile food distribution sites across the state.
K-12 School Information
Under the current guidance for schools, all K-12 schools are closed or using e-learning days from now until at least May 1st. This date may be revised to extend through the end of the 2019-2020 school year if circumstances warrant.
Further information is available on the State Department of Education website or from individual school district sites:
Remote learning resources for families and educators
The Department of Corrections:
- Department of Corrections Protocol: https://www.in.gov/idoc/3751.htm
- Department of correction visitation information (click find a facility): https://www.in.gov/idoc/
Information from Internet Service Providers:
College and University Updates
- The Indiana Commission on Higher Education released a list of resources available to students and parents amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
- This information includes campus closings, updates on housing access and student services.
Visit here for a list of higher education resources: https://www.in.gov/che/5033.htm
- University 2020 Commencement Updates:
- Purdue University: https://www.purdue.edu/president/messages/campus-community/2020/2003-commencement-announcement.php
- Indiana University: https://universityevents.iu.edu/commencement.html?_ga=2.266469198.1759288113.1584974657-1339025654.1584974657
- Ball State University: https://www.bsu.edu/news/press-center/archives/2020/3/may-2020-commencement-exercises
- Indiana State University: https://www.indstate.edu/academic-affairs/commencement
- University of Notre Dame: https://events.nd.edu/events/2020/05/15/commencement-weekend/
- Wabash College: https://www.wabash.edu/news/displaystory.cfm?news_ID=11387
- Depauw University: https://www.depauw.edu/studentacademiclife/commencement/
For people with federal student loans:
- The federal government has waived student loan payments for most federal student loans until September 30.
- Interest of federal loans is also waived until September 30.
- Who is eligible?
- Direct student loans from federal government in the past 10 years
- If you are on the 120 payments for public service loan forgiveness, this will NOT be negatively affected by the 6-month suspension
- FFEL loans, Perkins, state, private loans are not covered by this legislation; however, these programs may be offering special assistance on their own. Check with your provider
Important to remember:
- This applies only to federal student loans, not private.
- The payment suspension is optional, you can continue making payments if you choose
- An income-driven repayment plan will not lower your interest rate or the total amount owed, only the monthly payment
- There is currently no student loan forgiveness due to coronavirus
- If you have been subjected to excessive prices for consumer goods during the coronavirus pandemic you can file a complaint online with the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
- If you have questions about the types of complaints handled by the Consumer Protection Division, you may call the Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-382-5516 or 317-232-6330.
- No residential eviction proceedings or foreclosure actions may be initiated during the public health emergency. This does not relieve the individual of obligations to pay rent or mortgage payments.
- All public housing authorities are requested to extend deadlines for housing assistance recipients and required documentation to show eligibility for housing programs.
- If you have issues paying your mortgage or are already in foreclosure proceedings, the attorney general’s office may be able help.
- The office also has the ability to assist tenants with certain issues such as misrepresentations about a property’s condition and failures to provide specific disclosures.
- File a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division if any eviction or foreclosure proceedings initiate or continue during the state’s public health crisis
- The Consumer Protection Division can also be reached at 1-800-382-5516 or 317-232-6330.
- The federal government is moving Tax Day from April 15 to July 15.
- All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file federal taxes and make payments without interest or penalties.
- Indiana will delay state income tax payments from April 15 to July 15. The U.S. Treasury extended the deadline to pay federal income tax by 90 days.
- Penalties will be waived for 60 days for property tax paid after May 11. The state will work with counties that may experience cash flow stress because of the delay.
Providers of essential utility services such as gas and electric, broadband, telecom, water and wastewater services are prohibited from discontinuing service to any customer during the public health emergency.
- Traffic on state roads, highways and interstates is down significantly as a result of many Hoosiers honoring the Stay-At-Home Order. To speed up deliveries to retailers, commercial trucks hauling products essential to COVID-19 response are eligible for an emergency overweight vehicle permit. This permit will allow trucks to operate in the state at 90,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight rather than 80,000 lbs. through at least April 13. Trucking companies and drivers needing this permit should call 317-615-7320.
Relief for Small Businesses
- The state’s application to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was approved on Wednesday.
- This program provides targeted, low-interest loans of up to $2 million to help small businesses and nonprofits overcome the temporary loss of revenue as a result of coronavirus.
For information about applying for a relief loan visit: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance
- Indiana primary elections, originally scheduled for May 5, have been postponed until June 2.
- All relevant deadlines involving the primary will be moved back by 28 days.
- If you have not already registered to vote, the deadline has been extended the new deadline to register to vote in the primary is May 4th
- Indiana Election Commission held a meeting on Wednesday, March 25 and approved bipartisan recommendations to:
- Move all election dates back 28 days.
- Allow everyone to cast an absentee ballot by mail without excuse.
- Allow ballots dated May 5th to remain valid.
- Grandfathers-in received absentee ballot applications, which did not state an excuse permitting the person to vote by mail.
- Allow county election boards to hold electronic meetings.
- Encourage counties to appoint medical professionals to act as traveling absentee boards to help voters confined in medical facilities to cast a ballot.
- Permit family members and caregivers of a confined voter to personally deliver and return a ballot.
- Allow county election boards to consolidate voting locations and vote center sites and to take spacing measures to ensure the safety of voters.
- Loosen restrictions on students who wish to serve as poll workers or absentee board members.
- Allow county election boards to begin expeditiously counting ballots at 6 a.m. on Election Day.
- Advise county election boards that election results must be determined by 3 p.m. on June 12.
The application for a mail in ballot can be downloaded here. Applications must be received by your election board by May 21
Ongoing Announcements from the Governor Regarding Gatherings
- Guidance recommends no in-person events of more than 50 people.
- Bars, nightclubs and restaurants are required to close to in-person patrons and may provide take-out and delivery services through the end of March.
- Hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers should cancel and/or postpone elective and non-urgent surgical procedures immediately. Physicians should continue to perform critical procedures necessary to prevent short-term and/or long-term adverse effects to their patients’ overall health.
We are here to help you
- We know these are scary times and we are continuing to fight for relief for families whose health and employment are affected by this epidemic.
- Please follow us on our Facebook page and check into the above websites for updates on these requests and continuous up-to-date information: https://www.facebook.com/insendems/.