INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a July ruling and will allow the state to end federal pandemic unemployment benefits to Hoosiers.
The state said around 120,000 people lost benefits after Gov. Holcomb ordered they be stopped as he moved to end Indiana's participation in the federal CARES program. A Marion County judge ordered the state to temporarily continue the benefits in June. Then, an appeals court confirmed that judge's order July 12.
Those rulings have both been overturned with the Indiana Court of Appeals ruling Aug. 17. DWD had already said that if the courts rule the benefits can end, no money will need to be paid back from anyone already receiving a payment.
In response to 13News questions, DWD said Hoosiers will receive the benefits through Sept. 4, the ending date already established by the federal government. The reason the benefits will continue is the state has to give a 30-day notice of benefits ending for those affected.
The programs ending are:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides a $300 weekly add-on to recipients of unemployment insurance
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides extended benefits after the traditional 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits are exhausted
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides benefits to individuals who do not normally qualify for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed and independent contractors. New PUA applications will continue to be accepted through October 4, 2021.
DWD said people should continue to file weekly vouchers timely so there is no delay or denial of benefits. People have until Nov. 6, 2021, to file vouchers for weeks up to Sept. 4.
Gov. Holcomb said the programs were no longer necessary due to low unemployment rates that made it difficult for businesses to find enough workers.
Frustrated workers sued the state, claiming that ending the federal benefits early violated state law. That suit is still being fought and is part of the ruling Tuesday by the court of appeals.
Gov. Holcomb's office responded with the following statement to 13News on the Indiana Court of Appeals ruling:
“I want to thank the Court of Appeals on its ruling to reverse the trial court’s decision on unemployment benefits. The state took the appropriate steps to terminate its participation in these optional federal pandemic unemployment programs and this ruling confirms that we had the legal authority to do so.
These programs assisted Hoosiers in a time when some businesses were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, businesses are adapting so that they can remain open while maintaining a safe environment. Currently Indiana has more than 143,000 job openings and I know there are even more out there. The Department of Workforce Development continues to work with the unemployed to connect them with resources they need to gain skills and be matched with employment.”
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