Unemployed workers have filed a lawsuit
against the state of Indiana
for terminating federal unemployment benefits
before they expire in September.
Workers say they will suffer without federal benefits because they can't return to work
due to a lack of child
care or because their employers haven't reopened, according to a lawsuit filed in state court.
Republican governors in 25 states
have canceled the benefits before they expire, claiming that people
will not take jobs
because the federal government is providing them with an extra $300 per week. The majority of the states that have dropped the extra $300 are also terminating separate benefit programs for gig workers and the long-term unemployed.
The lead plaintiff is a Goshen, Indiana, resident identified in the lawsuit by the initials T.L., who works as a certified nursing assistant but is unable to return to work because she has a baby and local day cares are full; she is receiving $449 per week in federal benefits, which will end on June 19 unless the court issues an injunction.
The suit claims that if federal aid is not provided, “her family will struggle to pay for food
and other living expenses.”
Another plaintiff, J.C. of Bloomingdale, recently signed a six-month lease and would not have done so if he had known Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) would soon terminate the benefits, according to the lawsuit.
The suit, filed by Indiana Legal Services and the law firm Macey Swanson Hicks & Sauer, claims Holcomb violated a state law that requires the governor to secure all available federal benefits for the state.
“The legislature passed a law establishing a right to these benefits, and we are asking Governor Holcomb to uphold the law,” Indiana Legal Services Director Jon Laramore said in a statement.
Separately, the National Employment Law Project and Sen. Bernie Sanders
(I-Vt.) have stated that federal law requires the US government to ensure that workers continue to receive gig-worker benefits created by the Coronavirus
Aid, Relief, and Economic Security
Act, but President Joe Biden
has approved of the red state cutoffs.
Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki
told reporters that Republican governors had every right to end their benefits early.
have slammed the additional federal unemployment benefits, which Democrats
extended through September, for causing a labor
shortage, claiming the assistance is stifling economic recovery by encouraging people not to return to work even as businesses reopen.
According to recent Department of Labor job data, the negative impact of benefits on economic growth is minor; the economy
added over 500,000 jobs last month.
Nonetheless, there were 7.9 million fewer jobs in May than there were prior to the pandemic