South Carolina's governor on Thursday ordered an end to the state's participation in all federal COVID-19 pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs, citing workforce shortages.
The move will be effective on June 30, whereby the state will opt out of six federal COVID-19 pandemic unemployment programs that it had previously chosen to participate in.
"Since the Biden Admin and Congress appear to have no comprehension of the damage being done, the State of South Carolina must take action," he said.
"What was intended to be short-term financial assistance for the vulnerable and displaced during the height of the pandemic has turned into a dangerous federal entitlement, incentivizing and paying workers to stay at home rather than encouraging them to return to the workplace," he wrote.
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)
- Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)
- Emergency Unemployment Relief for Governmental Entities and Non-profit Organizations
- Temporary Federal Funding of the First Week of Compensable Regular Unemployment for States with No Waiting Week
"While the federal funds supported our unemployed workers during the peak of COVID-19, we fully agree that reemployment is the best recovery plan for South Carolinians and the economic health of the state. Last week’s initial claims numbers were the lowest since the pandemic began, and employers around the state are eager to hire and anxious to get South Carolina back to business."
The move makes South Carolina the second U.S. state to end the expanded unemployment benefits. Montana was the first state to do so, with Gov. Greg Gianforte announcing on May 4 that the state would opt out of all federal COVID-19 unemployment programs, effective June 27.
In addition to opting out of federal unemployment programs, Gianforte also announced that the state will use federal funds authorized under President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act to give "return to work bonuses" to unemployed people who rejoin the workforce and stay employed for at least one month.