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Indiana to stop sending federal unemployment checks

INDIANAPOLIS – State officials are suspending the payment of federal unemployment compensation starting Saturday until further notice.

Joe Frank, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said the move is a result of the federal sequester, which is chopping emergency unemployment compensation.

National media outlets have reported that the cuts would result in federal payouts dropping by almost 11 percent, according to the White House.

But the Indiana Department of Workforce Development is not reducing checks – it is just not sending them at all.

About 30,000 Hoosiers a week receive $9 million in federal unemployment aid.

“We thought it was the best course of action to give people certainty in advance. We can turn it around quickly as soon as the federal government gives us more guidance,” Frank said.

The state is trying to avoid accidentally overpaying Hoosiers money and then having to recoup it, Frank said.

“This is also a Congressional issue. If there is a deal that includes ending federal benefits, we’ll have to ask for the ENTIRE amount back,” Frank said in a follow-up email.

The notice that the payments would be suspended went up late Saturday night.

State unemployment benefits – the first 26 weeks – are unaffected.

For more on this story pick up Thursday’s print edition of Journal Gazette or return to after 3 a.m.