The protests may have paused for now, but the fight for unemployment benefits goes on as some Hoosiers won’t receive them from now on.
“Without it, we have nothing,” said Barb Driskill who works for Sodexo at Earlham College in Richmond. “I mean that’s how we feed our family. That’s how we pay our bills”
For 16 years, she’s gotten unemployment during the summer break, but a new law has banished that for her and thousands of others Hoosiers that don’t work year round.
“Folks that are on a regularly scheduled unpaid vacation are now ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits,” explained Department of Workforce Development Spokesman Joe Frank.
Not only that, but now those people have to pay back the benefits they took after the law changed. For Driskill, that’s $1,500 that she said she can’t afford.
Some will see the money taken from their tax refunds this year. Others have already lost money.
Local 3826, the union for IPS bus drivers, has been giving away gas cards to help those affected. It recently raised money to keep a driver from being put out of her home.
“They’re being evicted. They’re getting letters from their landlords. I mean it put them in a hardship. It’s really bad,” said the union’s President Grigite Yancey.
Last year, the union went on strike to send a message. Now, Yancey said, it’s fighting back with a class-action lawsuit. It filed an appeal last Friday.
“At least my members have hope. You know we are fighting it, we’re gonna keep fighting it,” said Yancey.