Appeals court denies state’s motion, says Indiana should pay federal pandemic unemployment benefits

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INDIANAPOLIS – In a Monday afternoon ruling, the Indiana Court of Appeals denied a motion from the state of Indiana seeking to delay the reinstatement of federal pandemic unemployment benefits.

The decision comes after a Marion County Superior Court judge ruled that the state must restart the extra $300 weekly benefits. The state is appealing that ruling, and had sought to stay the reinstatement of benefits until the appeal was resolved.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development said Monday it has been working to restart the federal pandemic benefits since the initial court order, and “this work continues with an estimated restart date of Friday, July 16, 2021.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office released the following statement after the ruling:

“We acknowledge the court of appeals decision today. Notwithstanding, the Department of Workforce Development will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Labor on finalizing the pandemic unemployment insurance benefits to comply with the judge’s order.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb decided to end the program on June 19, making Indiana one of more than two dozen states terminating at least one of three pandemic unemployment programs. Holcomb had said the programs were hurting Indiana’s economic recovery from the pandemic and contributing to a worker shortage.

But two groups filed a joint lawsuit against the state, saying ending the benefits “would cause irreparable harm” to Hoosiers who are relying on the money. The federal program is set to expire nationally in September.

Attorneys for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development had also argued that the state can’t pay the benefits because it has already ended its agreement to administer the federal programs.

A final decision on the appeal itself has not been reached.

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