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Judge rules Indiana must continue federal unemployment benefits

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Posted at 8:00 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 20:00:06-04

INDIANAPOLIS (WRTV) — A Marion County, Indiana, judge says the state must continue its participation in the CARES Act supplemental unemployment benefits.

In May, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the state would stop providing federal COVID-19 unemployment benefits, citing the number of businesses looking for new employees.

A judge ruled, in response to a lawsuit was filed by Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis on June 14, the benefits must continue until the court makes a final decision.

In May, Holcomb announced the following programs would end:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides a $300 weekly add-on to recipients of unemployment insurance.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides recipients extended benefits after their traditional 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits have been exhausted.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides benefits to people who do not normally qualify for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed, gig workers, and independent contractors.
  • Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), which provides a $100 additional weekly benefit for people who are eligible for regular unemployment benefits but also earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income.

In response, a statement from the Office of Gov. Holcomb said Holcomb and the Department of Workforce Development will "discuss an immediate appeal of the judge’s order with the Attorney General."

You can read the full statement below.

The state of Indiana took the appropriate steps to terminate its participation in federal pandemic unemployment program. The agreement ended on June 19. The Governor and Department of Workforce Development will discuss an immediate appeal of the judge’s order with the Attorney General.

Co-counselors Jennifer Terry and Jeffrey Macey released the following statement after the judge's ruling:

Continuing the expanded unemployment benefits is meaningful to our clients and Hoosiers across the state who have relied on this assistance throughout the pandemic. While there will be further legal proceedings in this case, we look forward to the state following the judge’s orders to reinstate the benefits for so many in need right now.

Drew Anderson, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party, released the following statement:

Federal unemployment benefits - funded by President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan – are helping Hoosier families put the pandemic in the rearview mirror. Still, COVID-19 exposed one glaring problem too many Hoosier workers know: many jobs do not pay a livable wage and force people to work more for less. The responsibility of this unfair reality should fall on the state's elected leaders who too often are putting their extreme partisanship ahead of common-sense solutions like raising the state's minimum wage. Democrats know it's past time to raise worker wages, and we hope Republicans can finally get on board so that a better future can be built for every Hoosier family across Indiana.

WRTV has reached out to the Department of Workforce Development by email for a statement and is still awaiting a response.

You can read the judge's conclusions below:

This story originally reported by Andrew Smith and Brittany Menendez with additional reporting from Megan Sanctorum and Daniel Bradley on WRTV.com.