LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Indiana is joining a handful of Republican-led states in ending the state's participation in federal unemployment insurance programs that provide an additional $300 per week to jobless claimants nationwide, extend benefits beyond the normal six months of eligibility and make benefits to people who normally would not be eligible.
Hoosiers will no longer be eligible for the federal benefits programs as of June 19, according to a news release from Gov. Eric Holcomb's office.
"There are help wanted signs posted all over Indiana, and while our economy took a hit last year, it is roaring like an Indy 500 race car engine now. I am hearing from multiple sector employers that they want and need to hire more Hoosiers to grow," Holcomb said in the release. "We have a myriad of work options in every region of our state with many more coming online every week."
Indiana joins 12 states, all led by GOP governors, that have announced their intention to end their participation in the federal programs since May 4, according to The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank which calls the moves "short-sighted."
The others are Montana, South Carolina, Alabama, Iowa, Idaho, Missouri, Wyoming, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Utah and North Dakota, according to the organization.
Kentucky's Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday he is considering ending Kentucky's participation in the federal programs before they expire nationally on Sept. 6, but he was unable to provide a timeline. Beshear said the programs pump about $34 million a week into the Kentucky economy.
Deciding when to end the programs is a tricky calculus, Beshear said.
"It's really trying to thread the needle or find the goldilocks zone where we get the direct, positive impact that those (federal) payments have on our economy -- especially retail, groceries, restaurants -- while at the same time getting people at the right level and built up back to work so we can take all those gains and continue them moving forward," he said. "I don't think it's an exact science but I know it would be premature to terminate them now."
Indiana is ending its participation in the four programs created or extended by the latest stimulus bill, the American Rescue Plan Act, adopted earlier this year. The programs are:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides a $300 weekly add-on to recipients of unemployment insurance
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides recipients extended benefits after their traditional 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits have been exhausted
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides benefits to individuals who do not normally qualify for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed, gig workers, and independent contractors
- Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), which provides a $100 additional weekly benefit for individuals who are eligible for regular unemployment benefits but also earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income
The Century Foundation estimates 286,641 Hoosiers will miss out on a collective $1.6 billion in federally funded benefits if Indiana ends the programs before their federal expiration of Sept. 6. Of that, more than $1 billion is the extra $300 weekly supplement that will no longer be paid.
This story will be updated.