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$1,200 return to work bonuses in New York: who can get it and how to claim it

New York is set to join other states in handing out bonuses to individuals that find a job to reduce the number of people collecting unemployment.

$1,200 return to work bonuses in New York: who can get it and how to claim it
OCTAVIO JONES REUTERS

States across the US are moving to encourage people to get off unemployment compensation some with a stick, others with a carrot, some with both. New York may join a handful of states that have implemented signing bonuses for those who take a job and hold it for a specified period of time.

Other states are taking a different tack believing that the federal unemployment payouts are holding people back from seeking work. So far 25 states have decided to end participation in federal unemployment programs that shored up the finances of millions of Americans who were out of work.

New York $1,200 return to work bonus

Legislation was introduced on Tuesday by New York lawmakers that would authorize a $1,200 one-time bonus to those who are collecting unemployment benefits at the time the bill is passed. The bonus would be dependent on those workers maintaining the non-governmental position for at least four weeks. The program is intended to provide relief to businesses paying “exorbitant increases in unemployment insurance rates” and reduce "the rate of unemployment claims in New York State [which] is unsustainable for workers, businesses, and consumers.”

Unlike other bills that have passed, the New York bill doesn’t state whether there is a time limit from the date it is passed for a job to be taken. A similar bill that passed the North Carolina Senate would give unemployed residents $1,500 signing bonus if they accept a job within 30 days of the bill’s approval. Otherwise those collecting unemployment compensation would get $800 if they accept a job within 60 days.

States that already have a bonus for returning to work

Montana got the ball rolling on both dropping federal unemployment programs and offering a bonus for those that return to work. The state is offering a one-time payment of $1,200 to those who were unemployed when the bill passed for maintaining a new job for four weeks. Fellow republican-led states followed Montana’s lead in stopping participation in the federal unemployment programs but not all offered back-to-work bonuses.

Following suit with Montana in offering both a stick and a carrot were three other Republican-led states. Arizona is offering the largest signing bonus of $2,000 for full-time positions and $1,600 for part-time. New hires are required to work 320 hours and 160 hours respectively in order to get the bonus. Oklahoma will pay the newly employed $1,200 to the first 20,000 who qualify and complete six weeks of work. New Hampshire will pay its residents who find work and keep that job for 8 weeks $500 for a part-time job and $1,000 for a full-time position.

Colorado and Connecticut, both Democratic-led states have also implemented similar programs without cancelling federal unemployment benefits. Colorado residents that take a full-time job will now get $1,200 if they stay in the position for 8 weeks. In Connecticut, the first 10,000 long-term unemployed that go back to work will receive $1,000 if they hold the job for 8 weeks.