Indiana is appealing a court ruling that said the state must continue paying $300 in weekly federal unemployment benefits despite Gov. Eric Holcomb’s decision to join 25 other states in ending the payments.
Holcomb made the decision in May to end the extra benefits, and it took effect June 19.
Marion County Superior Court Judge John Hanley issued his ruling Monday regarding the continuation of benefits, and The Associated Press reported the state filed its appeal Tuesday. In it, the state said, Indiana’s economic recovery will suffer irreparable harm unless the ruling is overturned.
Indiana Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm based in Indianapolis that provides free legal services to low-income residents, asked for an emergency injunction to continue the payments.
Hanley’s decision said the state “is required to procure all available federal insurance benefits to citizens.”
President Joe Biden said the federal payments would end the first week in September, but 25 states – mostly led by Republican governors – already have ended or will end the payments early. The primary reason offered for ending the benefits early is the money, on top of weekly state unemployment benefits, are incentivizing people not to find work.
Hanley said the harm caused by ending the payments outweighed the risk to the state.
“A loss of housing or medical care and the inability to provide food, shelter and adequate childcare for a family constitute irreparable harm pending resolution of this cause of action and are not adequately compensable by an award of damages,” Hanley wrote in his decision.
Hanley added the payments 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.”
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