Indiana suspends — then resumes — federal jobless benefits
On Feb. 23, the Indiana State Department of Workforce Development (DWD) said via its website that it would no longer be extending federal unemployment benefits to 32,000 residents because of federal budgets cuts from the sequestration. According to the Indianapolis Star, no other states took similar action. The move would have stopped payments this past weekend. On Thursday, however, the state reversed its decision following criticism from labor groups and discussions with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
DWD commissioner Scott Sanders said in a statement that after receiving requested guidance, the DOL confirmed that unemployment benefits wouldn't be affected by the sequestration through March 9 and that full payment of extended unemployment benefits would proceed. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's office released a statement saying "The governor is also grateful that, as a result of DWD's persistence, the U.S. Department of Labor has now provided sufficient guidance to allow unemployment benefits to continue for thousands of Hoosiers struggling in this economy." Approximately 32,000 Indiana residents receive an average of $275 weekly in extended jobless benefits — those that kick in after 27 to 63 weeks of unemployment when state benefits have ended.
If the federal budget cuts do get put into place, reduced payments could begin as soon as the week of March 11 and would be retroactive to March 1, according to a CNN article. Approximately 3.8 million Americans could see their benefits reduced by 9.4 percent; on average, they would receive $400 less this fiscal year ending Sept. 30.