Court says Indiana could end unemployment benefits early, but it's too late to matter now

Oct 14, 2021

The Indiana Statehouse reflected in a window giving contact information related to unemployment benefits.
Credit Justin Hicks/IPB News

An Indiana court said this week the state did have the authority to end federal unemployment benefits before an end date set by Congress. But it’s too late to affect unemployed Hoosiers, coming nearly a month after benefits ended nationwide.

Federal unemployment benefits were set to expire in September. Earlier this year, Indiana officials tried to end them early. Then, a Marion County judge issued an order forcing the state to restart the COVID-19 relief programs.

Now, the Indiana Court of Appeals has decided the lower court “abused its discretion” and lifted the temporary injunction.

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Jennifer Terry from Indiana Legal Services represented several unemployed Hoosiers in the case. She said the temporary injunction helped her clients until benefits would have ended anyways. 

“Continuing to be able to receive unemployment benefits while the case was pending was what kept them out of poverty and to continue to meet their basic needs,” she said.

The Department of Workforce Development previously said unemployed Hoosiers won’t have to return unemployment benefits paid out while the legal case was pending.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.