List of States Ending Weekly $300 Federal Unemployment Boost
List of States Ending Weekly $300 Federal Unemployment Boost

The US economy was expected to add over 1 million jobs in April. However, at that pace, the economy wouldn’t recover all the jobs lost during the COVID-19 recession until 2024.

The $300-a-week federal payments, which are a reduced version of a $600 weekly benefit authorized last March under the CARES Act to help the millions of workers thrown out of work amidst the coronavirus pandemic,, will continue until Sept. 6 in states that don't opt out of the federal program.

Republican officials have long claimed federal unemployment payments are too high, and more GOP-led states may soon leave the federal program amid reports of employers having trouble finding workers. Millions of Americans remain unemployed—but claims of work shortages appear to be largely anecdotal so far.

While the federal government is unlikely to end the program before the September expiration, some Republican-controlled states are already announcing plans to ax it.

That includes Montana, which became the first state to announce it would opt out of the enhanced unemployment program. It will exit the week of June 27, and instead state leaders say they plan to pass legislationto offer jobless residents a $1,200 bonus if they return to work.

Alabama, Arkansas, Montana, and South Carolina have all taken official steps to opt out of the $300 enhanced unemployment benefit. Those states are all run by Republican governors who have spoken out against the program. More Republican states could soon follow suit.

List of States to reject $300-A-Week Federal Unemployment Benefits

Tennessee: Gov. Bill Lee (R) announced Tuesday the state will stop participating in the federal government's supplemental unemployment benefits program on July 3, which provides an extra $300 a week to the jobless.

Iowa: Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) announced Tuesday her state will stop participating in the federal government's supplemental unemployment benefits program on June 12.

North Dakota: Gov. Doug Burgum (R) is also pulling his state from the program, saying Tuesday North Dakota will drop out on June 19.

Mississippi: Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said Monday that Mississippi would leave the federal government's supplemental unemployment benefits program on June 12.

Alabama: Gov. Kay Ivey (R) also said Monday that her state is opting out on June 19.

Arkansas: Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced Friday afternoon his state would stop giving the $300-a-week payments on June 26.

South Carolina: Gov. Henry McMaster (R) said Thursday South Carolina would end federal benefits at the end of June

Montana: On Wednesday, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) said he would withdraw from the program by June 27, also claiming his state was being plagued by a labor shortage.

Montana will instead offer a one-time $1,200 bonus for returning to work, Gianforte said.

How to return to work — and keep getting the $300

“The $300 is what will attract people back to work,” Susan Houseman, research director at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, said CNBC. “There are two programs that would allow them to do that.”

The programs are partial unemployment insurance and short-time compensation (also known as work sharing). These options are available only to part-time workers.

In each case, workers would receive a paycheck plus a portion of their full unemployment benefits. They would also get the $300 supplement to jobless aid.

The American Rescue Plan offers the extra $300 a week through Labor Day to all recipients of unemployment benefits.

Workers receiving unemployment benefits through a short-time compensation program or partial unemployment wouldn’t get the extra $300 in these states past June.

Further, rules that apply to each program may limit availability to some workers.

For example, just 27 states make short-time compensation programs available to workers. Even then, such programs are employer-driven: A business applies for the benefits on behalf of its workers.

All states offer partial unemployment benefits and workers apply for the aid.

Federal law requires workers’ hours to be cut at least 10% and not more than 60% for them to qualify for short-time compensation programs. States may enact narrower bands, though.

Q&A, Facts about $300 weekly unemployment boost

Who is eligible for the $300 weekly unemployment benefits?

The passage of the CARES Act in March 2020 expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits. That expansion was extended by the package signed into law in March 2021. Eligibility now extends to jobless part-timers, self-employed workers, freelancers, and independent contractors. These unemployed Americans covered through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, along with anyone on traditional state unemployment rolls, automatically get the $300 weekly federal benefit.

How long will the $300 unemployment benefits last?

Residents in states that do not opt out of the program will continue to receive the enhanced $300 unemployment through the week of Sept. 6—that is, if they retain their eligibility for unemployment insurance.

What about PUA and PEUC unemployment protections?

The $1.9 trillion package signed into law by President Biden in March extended Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) from March 14 to Sept. 6. PUA expands who is eligible for unemployment benefits to include people like business owners, part-timers, and freelancers. PEUC grants an extra 24 weeks of jobless benefits to recipients once they exhaust their state benefits. Even if states opt out of the $300 extra unemployment payments, eligible residents in those states would still be covered by PEUC and PUA.

How much?

$387. That's how much the average American receives from their state in weekly unemployment payments, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which rises to $687 with the federal boost. Based on a 40-hour workweek, that means the average unemployed American is getting the equivalent of $17.17 an hour—more than twice the federal minimum wage.

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