Mo. to end all federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits Saturday
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KFVS) - Governor Mike Parson announced that Missouri will end all federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits.
He announced on Tuesday, May 11 that he directed the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to notify the U.S. Department of Labor that Missouri will end participation in all federal pandemic-related unemployment insurance programs, effective Saturday, June 12 at 11:59 p.m.
“From conversations with business owners across the state, we know that they are struggling not because of COVID-19 but because of labor shortages resulting from these excessive federal unemployment programs,” Governor Parson said. “While these benefits provided supplementary financial assistance during the height of COVID-19, they were intended to be temporary, and their continuation has instead worsened the workforce issues we are facing. It’s time that we end these programs that have ultimately incentivized people to stay out of the workforce.”
This applies to the following programs:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
- Emergency Unemployment Relief for Government Entities and Nonprofit Organizations
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
- 100 Percent Reimbursement of Short-Time Compensation Benefit Costs Paid Under State Law
- Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor, Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Director Anna Hui gave notice of Missouri’s intention to terminate all federal pandemic-related unemployment programs.
“During the last recession in 2008, the federal government contributed $25 per week to supplement state unemployment benefits. During the latest economic downturn, Washington poured in $600 per week in addition to Missouri’s weekly benefit of up to $320,” said Director Hui.
“Even after the original $600 supplement expired, it was replaced by a federal supplement that provides an extra $300 per week on top of Missouri’s existing state benefit, meaning thousands of claimants continue to receive $620 per week or more,” Director Hui continued. “The unemployment system is designed to provide a temporary safety net as workers look to reenter the job market. Leaving the level of benefits artificially high would prevent a return to full employment in our state.”
Tuesday’s announcement follows steps taken last July to require claimants to again conduct weekly work searches in order to be eligible for unemployment benefits.
This work search requirement had originally been waived in March of 2020 as part of an agreement with the federal government to receive funds under the CARES Act.
Under Missouri’s law, claimants are required to perform and report three work search activities per week.
Qualified work search activities include filing an application (online or in-person) with an employer or through job posting sites or attending a job fair, job interview, reemployment service or skills workshop
According to the governor, the unemployment rate in Missouri dropped to 4.2 percent and employment increased by more than 15,000 jobs in March.
He said Missouri is now 11th in the nation for site selection.
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