Boosted Unemployment Programs End Saturday in Utah; Final Payments Next Week
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah will cut ties on Saturday with several federal unemployment programs implemented during the pandemic.
Final payments for the boosted and extended unemployment programs will be issued next week, according to the Utah Department of Workforce Services.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox made the announcement in early May that Utah would be opting out of the enhanced jobless payments.
“This is the natural next step in getting the state and people’s lives back to normal,” Cox said at the time.
Cox went on to say that the benefits were never intended to be permanent and that the state has plenty of jobs of available.
All of the 23,045 Utahns currently receiving unemployment benefits will be impacted by ending the federal programs ahead of original Sept. 4 end date.
About half, or 11,443, will continue with the regular state unemployment insurance program but without the extra $300 a week, according to updated figures provided to KSL TV on Thursday. Traditional state unemployment benefits provide about a 50% replacement wage.
The rest will stop getting weekly checks completely. That includes the 10,340 Utahns on Pandemic Extended Unemployment Compensation, which provided extra weeks of benefits beyond the state’s normal allotment.
The 1,262 Utahns on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for gig workers and the self-employed will also become ineligible for benefits after June 26.
Workforce Services said returning to pre-pandemic programs for unemployment is essential for a full economic recovery.
“There are currently no restrictions on businesses. The vaccine is readily available,” said Kevin Burt, Assistant Deputy Director at the Utah Department of Workforce Services. “Utah has a 2.7% unemployment rate, which is one of the best in the nation, and there are enough jobs in Utah’s economy to cover these individuals who are going to lose these critical benefits.”
Burt went on to say that ending Utah’s participation in the federal programs will make it so that the government isn’t competing with businesses.
Burt said that Workforce Services has worked to make sure that unemployment benefit recipients won’t be surprised by the changes next week.
“We’ve tried our best to certainly communicate because we understand how critical these benefits are to these individuals,” Burt said. “But we’ve also always communicated that they are temporary.”
For those still struggling due to the pandemic, other safety-net programs are still available such as rent, utility, food and medical assistance. For more information about additional pandemic relief programs and details about the federal unemployment insurance programs ending, visit jobs.utah.gov.
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