Judges in Maryland and Indiana have recently ruled that the states must backtrack on plans to end the additional $300-per-week in unemployment benefits provided through a pandemic relief program.
The states were among 26 states to end one of the federal unemployment programs provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted multiple lawsuits. The judges ruled that Maryland and Indiana must resume those programs until the lawsuits against those states are resolved. Two nonprofit organizations filed lawsuits against Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb claiming that his decision "violated the clear mandates of Indiana's unemployment statute — to secure all rights and benefits available for unemployed individuals."
Earlier this month, a judge ruled that Indiana must resume these payments to about 230,000 state residents until the lawsuit is concluded, and stating that a "preponderance of evidence" suggests that the move to end the program early was in violation of the law in the state.
"A loss of housing or medical care and the inability to provide food, shelter and adequate childcare for a family constitute irreparable harm pending resolution of this cause of action and are not adequately compensable by an award of damages," wrote Marion Superior Court Judge John Hanley.
Regina Ashley, the chief unemployment insurance officer at the state Department of Workforce Development, said that about 25,000 residents have already received more than $33 million in total, while noting that "there will be no gap in payments for eligible claimants," and said that unemployed people can start filing for the weeks they missed, according to CNN.
Baltimore Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill ruled that Maryland must "immediately take all actions necessary to ensure that Maryland residents continue to receive any and all expanded and/or supplemental unemployment benefits," an order that Gov. Larry Hogan says the state is currently complying with.
An Ohio judge is expected to make a decision on the state’s early termination of the federal assistance program following a hearing that centered around a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to restore the benefit until the case is resolved.
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