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Unemployment benefits: will the $300 weekly payments continue?

While the American Rescue Plan extends federal pandemic unemployment benefits until September, 23 states have now chosen to end them earlier.

While the American Rescue Plan extends federal pandemic unemployment benefits until September, 22 states have now chosen to end them earlier.

Citing the need to get people back to work 23 Republican-led states have decided that enhanced unemployment benefits helping Americans who couldn’t work due to the pandemic are holding back the economic recovery. Although the financial assistance is slated to continue until the first week of September in the federal bill, some of those states have chosen to start ending benefits as soon as June.

Montana was the first state to get the ball rolling on 4 May, followed soon afterwards by additional states, announcing the end of participation in the enhanced benefits program. Some states while ending participation in the federal programs are instating incentives to return to work.

Also see:

What unemployment benefits will end?

The majority of states have or will reinstate job search requirements in order to continue to receive unemployment benefits. Although the federal government has not shortened the amount of time that individuals can receive federal unemployment compensation President Biden has said that “anyone collecting unemployment, who was offered a suitable job, must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits," when speaking about the April jobs report in early May.

Requirements to receive financial assistance while unemployed vary from state to state. If you’re worried about potential changes to benefits that you are receiving, it is best to check with your state’s online unemployment portal or call your state’s unemployment office.

Some states, beginning as early as 12 June, will end their participation in:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provides unemployment benefits to those who normally don’t qualify like the self-employed and gig workers, or those who couldn’t work due to the pandemic.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, which provides those that have exhausted their state benefits with additional weeks.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, which provides an extra $300 per week to unemployment benefits.
  • Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program, which provides an additional $100 to those that are both wage earners and self-employed.

Which states are ending enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits?

The following states have announced that they will cease participation in the enhanced federal unemployment benefits programs. This doesn't affect normal state unemployment compensation, which will continue according to each state’s rules and requirements to claim benefits.

12 June

  • Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, and Missouri

19 June

  • Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming

26 June

  • Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah

27 June

  • Montana

30 June

  • South Carolina

3 July

  • Tennessee

10 July

  • Arizona

Four states are offering benefits to return to work

Of the four states above, Arizona, Montana, New Hampshire and Oklahoma have announced plans to entice workers back to available jobs.

Arizona: Governor Doug Ducey announced a $2,000 “Arizona Back To Work” bonus to encourage state residents to rejoin the workforce full-time and a smaller bonus for individuals who get part-time work. It also provides “child care support, educational opportunities and rental assistance” as incentives to return to the workforce.

Montana: The state will offer those with an active unemployment claim as of 4 May, 2021 a one-time $1,200 bonus payment. In order to be eligible individuals must: discontinue receiving unemployment insurance benefits; accept an offer of employment in any industry in Montana; and complete at least four full weeks of paid employment.

New Hampshire: Governor Chris Sununu announced a $10 million program that will provide a bonus “on a first come, first serve basis” to those workers who would get paid $25 per hour or less if they returned to work. Currently unemployed individuals must return to work for at least eight weeks. For a full-time job eligible individuals will receive $1,000 and for part-time work $500. The bonus can be claimed starting immediately before benefits are set to end.

Oklahoma: The state will give the first 20,000 currently receiving unemployment benefits who return to work a $1,200 “Return to Work Incentive.”