Many States Are Cancelling Unemployment Benefits Early

Many States Are Cancelling Unemployment Benefits Early

For more than a year, some individuals have been depending on government benefits to survive. After coronavirus struck, the government expanded their eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits and increased the duration and amount of unemployment benefits. But now, some states are ending those benefits before the anticipated date. Learn everything you need to know about the cancellation of benefits and how it could impact you.

What Were the Changes to Unemployment Benefits?

To understand what's happening with unemployment benefits today, you need to know how they changed during Covid-19. One of the biggest changes was the $600 weekly payment to those who received unemployment benefits. Although the supplement dropped to $300 in September, the extra income has helped and continues to help many families get through tough times.

Prior to Coronavirus, there were some very strict requirements for those who were receiving benefits. For instance, those on unemployment needed to apply for a certain number of jobs each week. Because jobs were in short supply and the pandemic kept people from finding work, the minimum job application requirement was lifted.

Every state has their own laws regarding unemployment benefits. Therefore, most of the changes to the benefits were made on a state level. Common trends included increasing the length of the benefits and expanding coverage to those who were self-employed or gig workers.

Why are Things Changing?

The virus is still around, so why are the unemployment benefits going back to the way they previously were? Despite the presence of Covid, life is starting to return back to normal. As more people are vaccinated, the country is opening back up.

Things aren't the way they once were and the economy is still working on bouncing back. However, jobs are available. In fact, many businesses are struggling to find employees. Across the country, companies in a variety of industries have to slow operations while they wait for enough staff to support them.

There are a few suggested reasons for this high demand in the job market. While no one can say for sure why there are so many jobs and so few job applicants, here are a few possible explanations:

  • Lack of reliable childcare
  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Lack of confidence after repeated rejections

Some individuals believe the small workforce is a result of the generous unemployment benefits. In an attempt to get people back to work, certain lawmakers are pushing to make changes to the unemployment policies. They hope that, with less help from the government, people will be more eager to seek out jobs.

Which States are Changing Their Policies?

In early May, the governor of Montana announced that he was opting out of the federal unemployment benefits. The $300 a week for unemployed individuals would no longer be accepted. Instead, he announced the intention to use the funds as bonuses for those who returned to the workforce.

Shortly after that announcement, the governor of South Carolina made a similar declaration. He stated that he would be canceling the federal programs early. Then, other states followed suit and it’s possible that more will decide to take the same path. Currently, many states require individuals on unemployment to actively seek work. If the benefit recipients don’t  look for jobs, they stand to lose their benefits.

A List of States Canceling Their Programs

In states that haven’t canceled their benefits, the federal unemployment program will remain in place until September 6th. However, all of the following states canceled their benefits early:


Arizona - Back to work bonuses and $1,000 for remaining employed for ten weeks




New Hampshire - Summer stipend program for those who return to work

North Dakota

Ohio - Prizes to adults who get vaccinated against Covid and scholarships to teens who do the same

Oklahoma - $1,200 back to work incentive after six weeks of work

South Carolina

South Dakota


As time passes, this list could change. Depending on the outcome, more states might opt out of the benefits. You should do your own research before making any decisions that could be impacted by unemployment benefits in your state.

Benefits are Still Available

While the unemployment benefits might not be as generous as before, they will still be available. The states that are canceling benefits are only canceling the $300 a week and the lenient rules. If you still meet the new requirements, you may be able to continue to receive your benefits.

What Does This Mean?

You might be wondering how this affects you. In reality, everyone should be ready to experience a change in unemployment benefits. At best, they will only remain in place until September 6th. At worst, you may need to go out and find a job to make ends meet. There’s a good chance that the change in policy will leave you disqualified for unemployment and needing to find an income.

If you wait until the benefits expire, there’s a challenge ahead. As more states lose their benefits, the job market becomes increasingly competitive. Finding a job will only become more difficult, so you may want to consider starting the job search now. While everyone else waits until September to start job hunting, you can enjoy having employers fight over you.

Currently, there are a few sectors that are in serious need of employees. If you're in the logistics, warehouse, or healthcare industry, you could be in luck. Those industries are thriving and have many job openings. Even if you don't currently have experience in those industries, you may be able to find an entry level job.

Get Started

It's time to commence the job search, and that means preparing yourself. If you haven't submitted a resume in awhile, open up the document and make some edits. What have you done to better yourself while you were on unemployment? Perhaps you took an online course or learned a new skill. While you're going over your resume, think of ways to improve it to fit your desired job.

Once your resume is ready, send in a few applications. Your new job could be only one job application away.

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