W.Va. ending extra federal unemployment benefits, citizens urged to return to work

CHARLESTON — Federal benefits for those now on unemployment in West Virginia will end June 19, and as another incentive for people to return to work a bonus that could total $1,000 is also being considered.

Gov. Jim Justice said Friday the $300 a week will stop as a way to urge people to go back to work.

Any weeks applied for prior to June 19 that are eligible under the federal requirements will be processed, he added, but not after that.

Justice said the state is also looking at a bonus to help incentivize people to go back to work, with the state chipping in a $500 signing bonus and the business that is hiring matching it, for a total of $1,000.

They will have to work for at least 90 days to receive the bonus, he said. Details are still being worked out and may be finalized by Monday.

The bonus will apply only to those who are now unemployed, he added.

“We have got to get you back to work,” he said, and the state has “thousands” of jobs available. “Our small businesses and economic development depend on it.”

The June 19 date was chosen to give Workforce West Virginia a 30-day window to be ready to implement the change.

Justice said he is following suit with 12 other states that have dropped the federal $300 a week part of unemployment benefits that are in addition to state benefits.

The federal program is scheduled to end Sept. 6 but there is a nationwide shortage of workers, especially in entry level jobs where people may be making more money on unemployment than if they were employed.


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