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These states will soon stop sending out $300 weekly unemployment benefits

May 19, 2021, 11:00 PM UTC

More than 20 Republican governors have announced plans to curtail weekly $300 enhanced unemployment benefits. They argue that the federal benefit—which is paid on top of state benefits—is incentivizing jobless Americans to not go back to work.

“In some cases, certainly discouraging people from going back at this point in time,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said last week. “The assistance was always, always intended to be temporary.”

The White House disputes that narrative, and would prefer the benefit be left alone until it lapses in September. But that hasn’t stopped Republican-run states from opting out of the program.

As of Wednesday, states that have announced plans to opt out of the weekly $300 enhanced unemployment benefit include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

When these states, which all have Republican governors, will phase out of the program varies by state. In Ohio and Texas, for example, it’ll be June 26. To encourage jobless residents to return to work before the benefit phases out, some states, like Oklahoma, plan to give workers a “back to work” bonus.

Jobless residents in states that opt out of the $300 benefit will still receive regular, state-issued unemployment benefits. Residents in states that do not opt out of the program, meanwhile, will continue to receive the enhanced $300 unemployment through the week of Sept. 6—that is, if they retain their eligibility for unemployment insurance.

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