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Workers to appeals court: let federal unemployment payments resume

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The workers who sued over Indiana’s unemployment program want an appeals court to let the federal payments resume.

They filed a motion Thursday morning with the Indiana Court of Appeals. The motion asks the judges to deny the state’s request for a stay.

The Court of Appeals later Thursday agreed to speed up the state’s request for an expedited appeal on the unemployment ruling. The Court of Appeals also ordered Marion County courts, where the initial case was filed and a temporary order to resume the payments was made, to complete a case transcript by July 9.

The five workers, who are joined in the suit by Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, argue that continuing to withhold the payments deprives them of “the immediate payments they need to avoid financial crises including eviction and inability to pay for necessities.”

A Marion County judge ruled in June that Indiana’s decision to opt out of the federal expanded unemployment program June 19 violated Indiana law, and ordered the state to resume the payments.

The Department of Workforce Development has not given a timeline on when the federal benefits, including the $300 per week payments, could resume.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has said ending the federal benefits would help get more Hoosiers back to work and speed the state’s economic recovery.

“Though the state claims that the benefits are contributing to a labor shortage, public sources show the contrary: removing these benefits in fact deters jobseekers,” the workers argue in their motion.

The state has asked the Court of Appeals to give an expedited ruling in the case.

Statement

“The Indiana Court of Appeals’ order in no way altered the trial court’s injunction, so the state remains under the legal obligation to continue to pay the benefits available under the federal pandemic unemployment programs. The State should take immediate action to make the COVID-related unemployment insurance benefits required under state law available to eligible Hoosiers as ordered by the trial court. The state’s delay is causing irreparable harm to our clients and to similarly situated individuals throughout the state.” 

Statement from Jennifer Terry and Jeffrey Macey, co-counsel for the workers

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