Indiana restarts payment of federal unemployment benefits following court order

The state Department of Workforce Development issued 25,000 payments totaling more than $33 million on Friday and expects to make thousands of additional payments in the coming days, Regina Ashley, the agency’s chief unemployment insurance and workforce solutions officer, said during a news conference.

Posted: Jul 16, 2021 1:45 PM
Updated: Jul 18, 2021 8:48 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana on Friday resumed making $300 federal unemployment payments to workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic after a court ordered it to do so.

The state Department of Workforce Development issued 25,000 payments totaling more than $33 million on Friday and expects to make thousands of additional payments in the coming days, Regina Ashley, the agency’s chief unemployment insurance and workforce solutions officer, said during a news conference.

Indiana state flag

The payments are the first to be paid since mid-June and will be retroactive to the work week that ended June 25, meaning there won’t be a gap in benefits for eligible claimants, she said.

They come more than a month into a legal battle over the state’s participation in federal programs that expanded unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

In addition to resuming the $300 payments, officials said the state has restarted its participation in a federal program that makes gig workers and the self-employed eligible for assistance for the first time and another that provides extra weeks of aid.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, who has pushed to drop the state from the federal programs before they’re scheduled to end on Sept. 6, announced in May that Indiana would reinstate a requirement that those receiving unemployment benefits would again have to show they were actively searching for work as of June 1 and that the state would leave the federal programs effective June 19.

Marion Superior Court Judge John Hanley granted a preliminary injunction in an ongoing lawsuit filed June 14 by two legal organizations, ruling that the state must temporarily resume participation in the federal government’s programs that provide unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

In his order, Hanley said Indiana’s decision to leave the federal program early violates state law, adding that the unemployment benefits are “instrumental in allowing Hoosiers to regain financial stability at an individual level while the state continues to face challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic during its return to normalcy.”

The state attorney general’s office asked the Indiana Court of Appeals to quickly stay Hanley’s order, arguing that the state couldn’t continue paying the benefits because it had already ended its agreement with the federal government to administer the federal programs.

The state also argued that it wouldn’t have time to withdraw from the federal programs again should the appeals court rule in its favor.

But the appeals court upheld Hanley’s order on Monday.

State officials have not said whether they will next ask the Indiana Supreme Court to consider the preliminary injunction.

Should it do so and prevail in the higher court, though, claimants wouldn’t be asked to return payments, said Fred Payne, the head of the Department of Workforce Development.

The $300 checks have more than doubled Indiana’s average $280 weekly unemployment payment, which has a maximum of $390 a week, according to the state agency.

The changes cut off or reduced unemployment benefits to around 120,000 people in the state during the hiatus, Ashley said.

Holcomb and other state leaders have maintained that jobs are available around the state, and that ending the benefits early would help businesses find and hire qualified employees for thousands of open positions.

Supporters of the federal payments say they’ll help workers get by while looking for good jobs and that businesses should offer better pay and benefits to attract workers.

Payne said Friday that Indiana’s unemployment rate stood at 4.1%, which is down from the pandemic peak of 16.9% a year earlier.

The state has paid out roughly $8.6 billion in unemployment benefits to about 875,000 Hoosiers since March of 2020, Payne said. The average claimant received approximately $10,600 in benefits.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1506866

Reported Deaths: 20637
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2056892545
Lake1006641508
Allen935801017
Hamilton72876550
St. Joseph64730759
Elkhart49383628
Vanderburgh48286528
Tippecanoe43764336
Johnson38300526
Hendricks36427460
Porter34494473
Madison29024543
Clark25868326
Vigo25633345
LaPorte23430309
Monroe23133247
Howard22089379
Delaware21603368
Hancock18686220
Bartholomew18152215
Kosciusko17921203
Warrick16933214
Wayne16230302
Floyd15876257
Grant15364298
Morgan14409231
Boone13514138
Noble11815141
Dearborn11676113
Henry11667201
Shelby11649151
Marshall11337168
Dubois11257152
Jackson10586104
Cass10269143
DeKalb10202130
Lawrence10196220
Huntington10156139
Gibson9583126
Montgomery9274143
Knox9043125
Harrison8983117
Whitley874371
Steuben8603105
Jasper8252115
Clinton818995
Miami8128133
Putnam8128100
Jefferson7849127
Wabash7827139
Ripley7180114
Adams6658102
Daviess6558129
Scott645186
White620483
Clay607175
Greene6064112
Decatur5967120
Wells5944120
Jennings591680
Fayette5786122
Posey552648
LaGrange529697
Randolph5073129
Washington503669
Owen4976100
Fountain475880
Spencer451756
Sullivan443065
Starke440586
Fulton434192
Orange429582
Jay414664
Rush410237
Perry386455
Carroll381749
Franklin377550
Vermillion358362
Pike323445
Parke322538
Tipton317375
Blackford274055
Pulaski272275
Newton233661
Brown228956
Benton219021
Crawford217532
Switzerland197814
Martin189422
Warren175922
Union170219
Ohio124016
Unassigned0739

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2460869

Reported Deaths: 31245
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2660682065
Cuyahoga2589843018
Hamilton1711291714
Montgomery1142371604
Summit1077801391
Lucas917461160
Butler81317942
Stark759401400
Lorain63561792
Warren51721475
Mahoning50412915
Lake47212605
Clermont45258429
Delaware40037212
Trumbull39108755
Medina38036419
Licking37943408
Fairfield34857334
Greene33267422
Portage31942360
Clark31218445
Richland29019423
Wood28563297
Allen25249395
Miami23567395
Muskingum22859245
Columbiana22539403
Wayne21740356
Tuscarawas19252427
Erie18390222
Ashtabula18260342
Marion18111232
Scioto17366207
Ross16832252
Pickaway15948178
Hancock15761228
Geauga15374223
Lawrence14350186
Belmont13767247
Union1375384
Huron13682182
Jefferson13250258
Sandusky13047199
Athens12272106
Knox11850198
Seneca11762200
Darke11111198
Ashland11022178
Washington10836168
Auglaize10540142
Crawford10172175
Shelby10101157
Brown9734140
Fulton9531150
Guernsey9423117
Highland9396148
Defiance9321135
Logan9228142
Clinton9087127
Mercer8902111
Madison8836106
Preble8265162
Williams8127135
Putnam7922135
Ottawa7809121
Champaign7782112
Jackson7582117
Perry731298
Coshocton7210136
Morrow712882
Fayette688687
Pike640586
Hardin6397128
Gallia614791
Adams6000124
Van Wert5923121
Henry586493
Hocking5718104
Wyandot491590
Carroll4909100
Holmes4814161
Paulding414664
Meigs387473
Monroe307468
Noble289351
Harrison287961
Morgan283348
Vinton247945
Unassigned08
Fort Wayne
Clear
17° wxIcon
Hi: 23° Lo: 8°
Feels Like: 10°
Angola
Clear
16° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 7°
Feels Like: 16°
Huntington
Clear
18° wxIcon
Hi: 23° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 11°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
17° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 10°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
16° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 10°
Feels Like: 9°
Windy conditions are on tap for Saturday with highs near 30 degrees.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events