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FILE: Utah Department of Workforce Services.
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Extra $600 Weekly Unemployment Payments To Stop Soon

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah’s unemployment office is warning that weekly payments will get a lot smaller once the $600 stimulus add-ons cease at the end of July.

“What’s going to happen is they will see an immediate decrease the following week,” said Kevin Burt, director of Utah’s Unemployment Insurance Division. “Instead of a full replacement wage, it will flip to about a 40 percent replacement wage.”

The reduction in benefits will affect all of the 94,220 Utahns who are currently receiving traditional unemployment benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

“Unemployment was never intended to replace employment,” Burt said in an interview with KSL. “Now is the time to look for those job opportunities, rather than waiting for when everyone sees that reduction in their unemployment benefit.”

Because of the $600 extra weekly payment from the CARES Act, Burt said some Utahns are actually getting the same money or more on unemployment than when they were working.

Because so many were new to the unemployment process, people may not realize they are receiving the extra funds. Burt said regular unemployment payments are designed to cover only about half of a claimant’s typical wages as an incentive to find employment.

“The unemployment insurance program has been an incredible stabilizer for those that have and continue to see disruption to their employment as we move towards economic recovery,” Burt said in a prepared statement. “However, the stability found in unemployment is temporary, and about to change dramatically with the loss of the $600 weekly stimulus at the end of July 2020.”

For example, a person making $40,000 a year is currently getting $979 a week in unemployment benefits. After the week ending July 25, that person’s payment will drop to $379 a week.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services is encouraging those on unemployment to look for work — even if it’s in a different industry than their last job.

“Some industries have really grown or increased in economic activity through this pandemic, so there are job opportunities and it may be that individuals will find better stability in employment than in unemployment,” Burt said.

While the nation is waiting to see if Congress extends the $600 weekly unemployment benefit as part of the next pandemic aid package, Burt said it’s unlikely that any measure could be passed and implemented in the next few weeks.

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