Wyoming drops COVID-era unemployment programs

WYOMING – Gov. Mark Gordon recently announced that Wyoming will withdraw from COVID-era unemployment programs because he feels it incentivizes those receiving benefits to not pursue employment.

“Wyoming needs workers, our businesses are raring to go,” Gordon said in a statement. “I recognize the challenges facing Wyoming employers, and I believe it’s critical for us to do what we can to encourage more hiring. Federal unemployment programs have provided short-term relief for displaced and vulnerable workers at a tough time, but are now hindering the pace of our recovery. People want to work and work is available. Incentivizing people not to work is just plain un-American.”

As of June 19, Wyomingites will no longer receive benefits or apply for benefits in three different federal UI programs: Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

All of those programs were enacted in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Continued Assistance to Unemployed Workers Act of 2020.

The FPUC provided an additional $300 per week to those receiving other UI benefits. The PEUC extended UI benefits for up to 53 weeks, an extension of the previous allotment of 26 weeks. The PUA provided UI benefits and relief for those who lost their income due to COVID-19 but did not qualify for other UI benefits.

The Department of Workforce Services still offers state assistance to displaced Wyoming workers when the aforementioned programs are no longer available in Wyoming.