UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Which states have resumed unemployment payments as the lawsuits increase?

Across the country 26 states had opted to end the additional jobless benefits early but lawsuits in at least five states may help to reverse those decisions.

States back down after unemployment benefits lawsuits

Jobless residents in two states will be able to keep their additional unemployment benefits payments after courts ruled that their states could not deny them access to the federal support.

Unemployed workers in Maryland did not have their payments lapse, while out-of-work residents in Indiana are expected to regain the $300 per week additional payments on Friday 16 July. In both cases the states’ Republican governors has attempted to move forward the finish date of the programme from 6 September to 3 July, citing concerns that the federal support was discouraging residents from seeking work.

Maryland’s Gov. Larry Hogan’s office said that it “fundamentally disagrees” with the verdict but that it would not appeal the decision, suggesting that residents will continue to enjoy the programme until September.

Residents in five states launch lawsuits

The Century Foundation estimates that around 4.1 million Americans were set to lose their additional unemployment support as a result of the decision, so a number of other states have launched their own legal challenges.

Following on from Indiana and Maryland, unemployed workers in Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas have also sought to force their governors to reinstate the federal jobless support. In Ohio the state terminated the $300 weekly supplement before the end of June and residents are asking for that decision to be reverse.

In Oklahoma one unemployed resident has argued that Gov. Kevin Stitt does not have the authority to deny access to the programme. He also claims that officials are required by state law to provide access to all unemployment benefits offered by the federal government.

States argue that additional unemployment support “will cause significant job loss”

Across the country 26 states have made attempts to withdraw from the pandemic additional unemployment programmes, 25 of which are Republican-held. The unemployment support was extended to September in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan so Democratic states have been reluctant to break ranks.

The argument put forward by the governors of those 26 states is that the additional $300 weekly payment is too generous and is creating an incentive against finding work. Despite the fact that it is due to end within eight weeks anyway, some governors are intent on withdrawing early.

Michael Ricci, spokesperson for Maryland’s Gov. Hogan, released a statement saying: "This lawsuit is hurting our small businesses, jeopardizing our economic recovery, and will cause significant job loss. Most states have already ended enhanced benefits, and the White House and the US Department of Labor have affirmed that states have every right to do so.”