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Some states will pay you up to $ 2,000 to return to work. Here is what you need to know

Some states pay one-time bonuses of up to $ 2,000 to unemployed people who accept a job.

It’s part of a larger strategy to deal with a perceived labor shortage, although some economists are skeptical of the approach that will remove all jobless residents from the sidelines.

At least 22 Republican-led states recently announced plans to withdraw from federal unemployment programs.

The withdrawal will end or reduce unemployment benefits for 3.6 million people – about a quarter of all Americans receiving such aid, according to Andrew Stettner, senior researcher at the Century Foundation.

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Affected workers will lose a weekly benefit supplement of $ 300 as of June 12. (They will still receive their typical state assistance allowance, which typically replaces half of a lost paycheck.) The self-employed and the long-term unemployed in most states will lose benefits entirely.

Return to work bonus

States withdraw two or more months before their scheduled end date of September 6. Officials say the additional benefits force workers to sit on the sidelines, making hiring more difficult for companies.

Four of the states – Arizona, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma – pay back-to-work bonuses instead of enhanced unemployment benefits to encourage residents to take a job.

“In Arizona, we’re going to use federal money to encourage people to work instead of paying people not to work,” Gov. Doug Ducey said last week.

The state’s back-to-work program offers one-time payments of $ 1,000 to unemployed workers who accept part-time employment and $ 2,000 to full-time employees.

New Hampshire, through its summer allowance program, pays $ 500 and $ 1,000, respectively, in bonuses for part-time and full-time positions. Montana and Oklahoma pay $ 1,200 to those who accept full-time work.

A bet ” ?

However, some economists do not believe that unemployment benefits play a significant role in hiring problems.

“I think it’s a gamble for states to assume that extending UI is the only reason they’re having trouble hiring,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, economist at the job site. Indeed.

“I think it does account in a way, but it’s impossible to quantify how much and I don’t think that’s the only reason,” she added.

Instead, many economists believe the ongoing pandemic is likely the driving force.

Covid is what started this whole mess, so you can’t ignore it until we are 100% back to normal.
AnnElizabeth Konkel
economist at Indeed

Covid infections are on the decline but remain high. The seven-day average of new infections was around 29,100 as of Thursday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 48% of adults are fully vaccinated. Those who have not completed the full immunization schedule may be reluctant to return to work given the continuing health risk.

“Covid is what started this whole mess, so you can’t ignore it until we are 100% back to normal,” Konkel said.

And there are other factors linked to the pandemic, such as childcare if schools are not fully reopened or daycares remain closed. There is also usually a mismatch between the demand for labor (vacancies) and the supply (available workers).

A single mother with childcare issues or someone scared or at risk of contracting the coronavirus may be reluctant to return to work, even with a premium available, Konkel said. But such a bonus can impact the unemployed if money is the main motivator, she added.


There are also caveats associated with return-to-work bonuses that limit their availability.

For example, workers in New Hampshire and Arizona are only eligible if their new job earns less than $ 25 an hour (equivalent to an annual salary of $ 52,000). Workers must complete four to ten consecutive work weeks to be eligible, depending on the state. Those in Montana and Oklahoma might also be able to find only part-time jobs instead of full-time jobs, which would likely disqualify them from a bonus.

Workers must also apply for the premium. Money is available on a first come, first served basis due to limited funding. In Oklahoma, for example, it is available to the first 20,000 eligible residents.

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