Benefits must continue ... for now

A Maron County judge has ordered a halt to the state canceling extra federal money for unemployment benefits.

A Marion County judge issued a ruling June 25 that the federal unemployment benefits must continue in Indiana.

Gov. Eric Holcomb had announced in May that the state would be canceling the extra $300 unemployment benefit effective June 19 in an effort to boost labor participation, a move that may have pushed some workers off unemployment and back into a job search.

That resulted in lawsuit filed on behalf on plaintiffs seeking to reverse the governor’s decision. They said without the extra benefits they would be unable to pay rent, utilities and necessary living expenses and medical care, according to the judge’s order granting a preliminary injunction on their motion. Holcomb and Frederick Payne, commissioner of Indiana Department of Workforce Benefits, therefore, can not withdraw the benefits until the court makes a final decision on the lawsuit, which was filed June 14.

Drew Anderson, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party, issued this response relating to the program, which is paid for by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan:

“Federal unemployment benefits — funded by President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan — are helping Hoosier families put the pandemic in the rearview mirror. Still, COVID-19 exposed one glaring problem too many Hoosier workers know: many jobs do not pay a livable wage and force people to work more for less. The responsibility of this unfair reality should fall on the state’s elected leaders who too often are putting their extreme partisanship ahead of common-sense solutions like raising the state’s minimum wage. Democrats know it’s past time to raise worker wages, and we hope Republicans can finally get on board so that a better future can be built for every Hoosier family across Indiana.”

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