The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, August 17, 2021 10:27 am

Appeals court reverses pandemic benefits decision

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Court of Appeals sided with the state today, saying it isn't required to pay extra pandemic unemployment benefits.

Gov. Eric Holcomb opted out of the federal benefits program in June, but Hoosiers sued and a trial judge issued a preliminary injunction requiring the unemployment aid to continue.

The benefits resumed in July – including the extra $300 a week and benefits for gig workers and contractors who otherwise would be ineligible.

An Indiana Court of Appeals panel reserved that injunction today in a 3-0 vote.

“Because we find that Indiana Code…does not require participation in the CARES Act programs, the State's decision to terminate the benefits did not violate the statute. We, therefore, conclude that Plaintiffs have not shown a reasonable likelihood of success at trial, and because the movant must prove each of the requirements to obtain a preliminary injunction, we hold that the trial court abused its discretion when it granted the Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction and enjoined Defendants from withdrawing Indiana from the CARES Act benefit,” the ruling said.

Fred Payne, head of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, said in a July briefing that if the state won Hoosiers would not be forced to pay the benefits back.

The entire federal program is set to end Sept. 7.

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