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Indiana appeals court rules state can stop federal unemployment benefits

Courts adjust during the pandemic.
Posted at 11:47 AM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 11:49:22-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday the state can stop participating in federal unemployment benefits.

The court reversed a previous decision saying the state must continue participation in three federal CARES Act programs.

"We disagree with the trial court’s determination that Plaintiffs had shown a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of their action for declaratory judgment and the reasoning underlying its determination," the opinion from the Court of Appeals read. "Indiana Code section 22-4-37-1 does not require the State of Indiana to participate in the CARES Act programs."

In a statement, Gov. Eric Holcomb thanked the court and said the state took the appropriate steps to terminate its participation in the federal unemployment programs. He said the Department of Workforce Development will continue working with those seeking employment to connect them with the resources they need.

The latest court decision comes after Holcomb announced in May the state would stop providing federal pandemic unemployment benefits in June, citing the number of businesses looking for employees. A lawsuit was filed by two legal organizations challenging his decision in June.

You can read the full opinion below.

You can read Holcomb's full statement below.

I want to thank the Court of Appeals on its ruling to reverse the trial court’s decision on unemployment benefits. The state took the appropriate steps to terminate its participation in these optional federal pandemic unemployment programs and this ruling confirms that we had the legal authority to do so.

These programs assisted Hoosiers in a time when some businesses were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that time, businesses are adapting so that they can remain open while maintaining a safe environment. Currently Indiana has more than 143,000 job openings and I know there are even more out there. The Department of Workforce Development continues to work with the unemployed to connect them with resources they need to gain skills and be matched with employment.