The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, July 13, 2021 1:00 am

State loses its bid to halt jobless aid

Appeals court rejects stay; checks could resume Friday

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Unemployed Hoosiers could see federal benefits start back again Friday after the Indiana Court of Appeals on Monday denied a stay sought by the state in a pending lawsuit.

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development issued a statement late Monday saying, “Since the initial trial court order, DWD has been working to restart the federal pandemic benefits that are at issue in the lawsuit. This work continues with an estimated restart date of Friday, July 16, 2021.”

A Marion County judge on June 25 ordered the state to rejoin the federal unemployment program that has provided an extra $300 to many workers since December. It also made some people eligible for unemployment who otherwise wouldn't have been – including self-employed and contract workers.

Attorney General Todd Rokita asked the Indiana Court of Appeals to stay or block the injunction while the appeal goes on. A three-judge appellate panel voted 2-1 to deny that request. The court order didn't explain why.

Gov Eric Holcomb – along with at least two dozen other states – opted Indiana out of the federal program that is slated to run until early September. But some people sued, saying a state law on the books requires the state to secure “all rights and benefits” conferred under federal statutes.

The judge agreed in granting the preliminary injunction.

Holcomb argued the program should end early because there are tens of thousands of unfilled jobs in the state and employers can't compete with the federal money.

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