What does a labor shortage mean for unemployment benefits?
A growing gap between available workers and job openings has sparked debate over whether pandemic-related unemployment benefits are preventing people from taking jobs. Several Republican-led states have moved to cut the improved benefits, and the Biden administration has said it is taking action to encourage more unemployed people to seek employment. Here are some answers to questions about adjustments that occur to unemployment benefits.
I’ve heard that some states are cutting federal benefits, like an extra $ 300 per week, before the September expiration date. Is this happening in my condition?
At least nine states have said they reject the additional benefits associated with the pandemic. Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and South Carolina have sent letters to the Department of Labor asking to end their participation in federal programs. These include an additional benefit of $ 300, extended payments, and benefits for small workers and other workers who are generally not eligible for unemployment benefits.
Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee have publicly stated that they plan to withdraw from the programs early, but they did not send letters to the Department of Labor on Tuesday.
Will I receive a return-to-work bonus when my unemployment benefits expire?
Most states do not offer bonuses. However, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte of Montana said residents would be entitled to a “back-to-work bonus” of $ 1,200 if they received unemployment benefits as of May 4 and subsequently took employment. and completed at least four weeks of paid work.
States are reinstating job search requirements. What are they?
Job search requirements vary from state to state, but generally require recipients of unemployment benefits to provide proof that they are looking for work. This may include proof of applying for a job online, attending a job interview, or attending a career fair. People can lose their benefits if they don’t document their research.
How do I know if my condition changes the job search requirements?
More than half of states have reinstated job search requirements for unemployment benefit recipients after many waived them at the start of the pandemic. Some states, including Nebraska, North Dakota and Louisiana, revamped job search requirements last summer. On Monday, President Biden ordered the Department of Labor to work with other states to restore job search requirements.
How to provide proof of job search?
National unemployment websites provide information on steps beneficiaries should take to meet job search requirements. States often require job seekers to contact at least one employer per week and complete a “job search log” that they may need to submit to their unemployment agency, according to employment site ZipRecruiter.
For example, unemployment beneficiaries in Nebraska must contact five employers per week. They are required to record their job searches online before or while claiming weekly benefits.
Can I refuse a job offer to continue to receive unemployment benefits?
In general, no. Mr Biden clarified on Monday that under the Unemployment Insurance Act, if a person receiving unemployment benefits receives a “suitable” job offer, they must either take it or lose their benefits. The definition of a suitable job offer differs by state, but generally applies when a person is recalled to their former place of employment.
Mr Biden said unemployed people could refuse to work in specific cases, such as if their children cannot go to school due to the pandemic.
Do unemployment benefits discourage job searches?
Some Republicans and economists say yes, because many unemployed people earn more than they would at work. With the additional federal benefit of $ 300 per week, the average unemployed recipient earns better than the equivalent of a full-time job at $ 15 an hour. “Federal unemployment compensation programs linked to the pandemic initially provided the displaced people of Iowa with crucial assistance when the pandemic began,” said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. “But now that our businesses and schools have reopened, these payments are discouraging people from returning to work.”
Some Democrats and economists say no, citing factors other than unemployment benefits that keep workers away, such as fear of falling ill during the pandemic and the lack of full-time child care. In addition, state unemployment insurance programs include re-employment services. “Unemployment insurance is not a deterrent. It is in fact the main tool by which we keep unemployed people supported in their goal of returning to work, ”said Michele Evermore, an official in the Biden administration.
Write to Sarah Chaney Cambon at [email protected]
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