Governor Bill Lee ends Federally Funded Unemployment Programs

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (WDEF) – Governors Lee’s decision to end all federally funded pandemic unemployment programs is his latest push to get Tennesseans back into the workforce.

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.

The decision by the Governor also means an end to the $300 weekly additional payments

Governor Lee says “Families, businesses and our economy thrive when we focus on meaningful employment and move on from short-term, federal fixes”

“You can drive down any street in Chattanooga and see the ‘now hiring’ signs. Employers need employees to come to work and they are looking to hire people across the state. We have 250,000 job openings posted on our website: JobsforTn. So there is a real need now to match workers who are out of work with employers who need them to help their businesses thrive so Tennessee’s economy can continue to rebound,” says Chris Cannon, Communications for The Tennessee Dept of Labor. 

Unemployment claimants in Tennessee have been required to complete three weekly job searches in order to remain eligible for benefits since Oct. 4, 2020.

 Members of Tennessee’s Democratic Caucus immediately condemned the governor’s decision saying that this decision hurts Tennesseans, while Republicans disagree and say this is EXACTLY the push the state needs.

“I think it’s a decision that is not thinking about the average person and it puts an additional burden on the average citizen. In addition to that, if he is so interested in getting people back to work- What about livable wage. The governor’s decision lacks leadership,” says Representative Yusuf Hakeem, (D) Chattanooga.

“We had to do something to encourage people. There are just enough vacancies out there that equal the amount of unemployment. This is a hard decision. It wasn’t easy, nobody wanted to do this but we had to do it in order to get people back into the job market,” says Senator Todd Gardenhire, (R) Chattanooga. 

According to the governor’s office, weeks filed by claimants-before July 3rd and that meet the federal program requirements-will still be processed.

The Tennessee Virtual American Job Center,, 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, which currently has over 250,000 active job postings of all skill levels.

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Hamilton County, Local News, Regional News

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