COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio will stop participating in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program put in place by Congress that aimed to help Americans get through the coronavirus pandemic by giving individuals on unemployment an additional $300 per week in benefits.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday that his administration will inform the U.S. Department of Labor that it will intend to stop participating in the program beginning June 26. DeWine said in some ways the assistance was discouraging people from going back to work.
“When this program was put in place, it was a lifeline for many Americans at a time when the only weapon we had in fighting the virus was to slow its spread through social distancing, masking and sanitization,” DeWine said. “That is no longer the case. That is no longer our only tool in this fight. This assistance was always intended to be temporary.”
DeWine chose June 26 to give Ohioans time to hear about the cease in the program and understand it. For those who are fearful of returning to work, and who have not been vaccinated, this gives them some time to schedule a vaccination appointment.
DeWine’s announcement to end enhanced benefits comes as employers across Ohio voice concerns about the lack of workers to fill jobs.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said ending the federal unemployment assistance in Ohio will help Ohio's commercial and manufacturing industries bounce back quicker while encouraging Ohioans to re-enter the workforce, and even in some cases learn new skills for a new career.
Husted said the bonus payment made sense at the start of the pandemic but the state is at a "different phase" now and the state's economy is rapidly recovering.
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