Indiana sued over the cancellation of federal unemployment programs
Two Indiana legal organizations are suing the state over the governor's decision to get out of state-funded pandemic unemployment programs.
Indiana Legal Services (ILS) and law firm MaceySwanson Hicks & Sauer have filed a joint lawsuit against the state alleging that stopping the service would "cause irreparable harm to individual customers."
"These benefits have provided life-sustaining and vital aid to many Hoosiers during the pandemic," ILS executive director Jon Laramore said in a statement Tuesday. "Legislature has passed a bill giving entitlement to these benefits, and we are asking Governor Holcomb to obey the bill."
The challenge to Governor Eric Holcomb's decision is based on Indiana Law 22-4-37-1, which requires the state "to provide citizens with all available federal insurance benefits," a statement from the organizations said.
Indiana is one of the 25 Republican-led states that have or plan to end certain unemployment programs this month and early next month. Alaska, Iowa, Missouri and Mississippi canceled their programs on Saturday. The federal expiry is September 6th.
Indiana plans to cut benefits on June 19, affecting 236,000 unemployed people and costing the state $ 1.3 billion in federal funds allocated to the benefits.
These included the additional $ 300 in weekly benefits, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for workers who are normally not eligible for unemployment, and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which provides additional weekly benefits.
"ILS makes strong arguments that the governor's actions are in violation of Indiana State Policy on the Protection of the Unemployed," Andrew Stettner, unemployment insurance expert and senior fellow of the Century Foundation, told Yahoo Money. "I hope the court will quickly issue an injunction to keep the benefits going."
In May lawmakers including Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) urged the Secretary of Labor to find a way to pay benefits to PUA recipients, with Sanders noting that this was a " Requirement prescribed by Congress "be" in a letter.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb, wearing a face mask, speaks during a round table discussion at Catalent Biologics where COVID vaccine vials are bottled. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images)
In the 25 states, more than 4 million workers will have their benefits cut by at least $ 1,200 a month in June or early July, a total of $ 22.1 billion lost, according to Century Foundation estimates. Nearly 3 in 5 workers in the 25 states that are affected by the early termination will no longer receive any benefits.
"This pandemic has been tough for everyone and we're not out of the woods yet," Jeffrey Macey, partner at Macey Swanson Hicks & Sauer and co-attorney on the case, said in a statement. "One salvation for many of my clients was the federal government's expanded unemployment benefits."
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Denitsa is a writer for Yahoo Finance and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @denitsa_tsekova
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