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S.C. senators support McMaster’s move to end federal pandemic unemployment benefits

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 7:21 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A day after Governor Henry McMaster announced plans to end federal pandemic unemployment benefits for South Carolinians, both of the state’s Republican senators praised the move as a way to address worker shortages.

On Twitter Friday afternoon, Sen. Tim Scott wrote, “This is the right move to get folks back to work and get our economy moving.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham said he completely supports the decision.

“The federal unemployment benefit has made it almost impossible for service industry businesses to maintain their workforce. In a majority of cases, the unemployment benefits exceed wages earned from working,” Graham said in a statement. “Governor McMaster’s decision will jumpstart the service industry, which has suffered greatly during the pandemic. I know many have lost work due to no fault of their own, but it is now time to let the economy open fully depending on employer wages, not government benefits.”

When asked why the governor waited to end the jobless benefits until June 30, McMaster’s office said federal law requires a 30-day notice before ending the program. The governor wanted to give people enough notice before the change took effect, a spokesperson said.

While it won’t take effect for more than a month, the governor’s office expects the change to have an immediate impact on the number of people looking for work, adding they have heard from businesses across the state that reported people were not searching for work because they are making more money from jobless benefits.

The state is reporting around 81,000 jobs need to be filled, which is around 20,000 more than before the pandemic.

This is the latest change unemployment filers will notice. Last month, the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce re-implemented job search requirements for people receiving benefits.

South Carolina isn’t the only state making this change; Montana’s governor announced a similar move earlier this week.

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