NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Gov. Bill Lee announced the end of all federally funded pandemic unemployment compensation programs in Tennessee, effective July 3.
“We will no longer participate in federal pandemic unemployment programs because Tennesseans have access to more than 250,000 jobs in our state,” Lee said in a news release. “Families, businesses and our economy thrive when we focus on meaningful employment and move on from short-term, federal fixes.”
Federal pandemic unemployment programs set to end on July 3 include the following:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides for an additional $300 weekly payment to recipients of unemployment compensation
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides benefits for those who would not usually qualify, such as the self-employed, gig workers and part-time workers
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides for an extension of benefits once regular benefits have been exhausted
- Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC), which provides an additional $100 benefit to certain people with mixed earnings
Unemployment claimants in Tennessee have been required to complete three weekly job searches in order to remain eligible for benefits since Oct. 4, 2020.
Any weeks filed before July 3 that are eligible under federal program requirements will continue to be processed.
Democratic Caucus leaders in State Legislature condemned the decision by the governor to end the funding.
"More than 200,000 Tennesseans have been laid off since Jan. 1 and the Lee administration just made the irresponsible decision to punish their families in a time of need. That's not leadership. It's legislative violence. This callous decision highlights just how out of touch this administration is with the lives of everyday Tennesseans," said Senate Democratic Caucus Chairwoman Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, in a news release.
"It's difficult to describe this decision as anything other than 'heartless.' First, we cut the number of weeks that Tennesseans can collect unemployment and then we literally take money out of their pockets from a system they paid into. It's a targeted, heartless assault on people who are simply trying to feed their families at the worst possible time," said House Democratic Caucus Chair Vincent Dixie, D-Nashville, in a news release.
The Tennessee Workforce Development System stands ready to help Tennesseans return to the workforce. Career specialists are available to help job seekers match with new employment opportunities at more than 80 American Job Centers across the state. They can work to identify possible training programs that can help an individual change their career pathway or enter an apprenticeship program so they can earn a competitive wage, while they learn a new trade.
The Tennessee Virtual American Job Center, www.TNVirtualAJC.com, allows Tennesseans to research different programs that can help remove barriers to employment so they can more easily reenter Tennessee’s workforce.
As federal pandemic unemployment compensation ends in Tennessee, the state encourages claimants to search for work at www.Jobs4TN.gov, which currently has over 250,000 active job postings of all skill levels.