JACKSON (AP) – Mississippi will stop accepting supplementary unemployment benefits from the federal government next month, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said on Monday.
Reeves said the weekly supplement of $ 300 per person was intended to help people “who are unemployed through no fault of their own” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“After many conversations over the past few weeks with Mississippi small business owners and their employees, it has become clear that Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and other similar programs passed by Congress have may have been needed in May of last year, but are not. longer in May of this year, ”Reeves wrote on Facebook.
Alabama, Arkansas, Montana, and South Carolina also plan to stop accepting the $ 300 federal supplement.
Reeves said he told the Mississippi Department of Employment Security to notify the federal government that the state would withdraw additional federal unemployment benefits on June 12, the earliest date allowed by federal law. Without the federal supplement, the maximum weekly unemployment benefit in Mississippi is $ 235, according to the department.
“It has become clear to me that we cannot have a full economic recovery until we fill the thousands of jobs available in our state,” Reeves wrote.
The governor also told the Department of Job Security to enforce the requirement for a person to document that they are looking for a job in order to receive unemployment benefits. The job search requirement had been removed over the past year due to the pandemic.
Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn sent Reeves a letter on Monday saying he and other lawmakers overheard “increasingly desperate” businessmen say they couldn’t fill the jobs .
“They report that they cannot get employees to return to work because they can earn more from combined federal and state unemployment benefits than their regular wages,” Gunn wrote in the letter, which Republican Rep. Nick Bain posted on Twitter.
A 40-hour-a-week job with a minimum wage of $ 7.25 an hour would pay $ 290 a week before taxes were collected.