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Court Of Appeals Upholds Emergency Court Order To Restart Federal Unemployment

By Justin Hicks, IPB News | Published on in Economy, Government, Law
The reflection of the Statehouse in the Department of Workforce Development headquarters in Indianapolis. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)
The reflection of the Statehouse in the Department of Workforce Development headquarters in Indianapolis. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

In another win for unemployed Hoosiers, the state Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Indiana must follow a lower court’s order forcing it to restart federal unemployment benefits. After weeks of legal filings, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development says it estimates federal benefits to be available again starting July 16.

A Marion County judge issued an emergency order a little more than two weeks ago telling the state it must restart federal unemployment benefit programs. The state immediately appealed to the higher court to stop the order, but a three-member panel of appeals judges denied that Monday.

However the decision wasn’t unanimous as Judge Ezra Friedlander disagreed with the other two judges on the panel.

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In the meantime, state officials gave no plans to restart benefit programs arguing their agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor had already ended and couldn’t just be restarted.

But nearly an hour after the ruling, DOL publicly published a memo to states affirming that any agency that pulled out of federal benefit programs is welcome to begin a new agreement.

In a written statement, Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office said it “acknowledged” the decision and that DWD will continue to work with the federal Department of Labor on finalizing the pandemic unemployment insurance benefits to comply with the judge’s order.

This story has been updated.

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