Gordon ends federal COVID-19 unemployment programs in Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Governor Mark Gordon has announced that Wyoming will end its participation in federal supplemental unemployment benefits. His announcement stated that the decision was made “in order to address workforce shortages being felt throughout the state.”

The programs were made available through federal laws initiated in response to the pandemic and include the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Continued Assistance to Unemployed Workers Act of 2020. The additional payments will no longer be available to claimants as of June 19, 2021.

“Wyoming needs workers, our businesses are raring to go,” Governor Gordon said. “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.”

Effective June 19, 2021, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services will stop paying benefits to existing claimants and will no longer accept new claims for other federal unemployment insurance (UI) programs.

These programs include:

  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, a $300 per week supplemental payment in addition to other UI benefits
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which extends UI benefits beyond 26 weeks to an additional 53 weeks
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which expands eligibility for UI benefits to self-employed and non-profit workers who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

State unemployment assistance will still be available.

“The 20 Workforce Centers around the state have many opportunities to help those who are seeking work,” said Division of Workforce Services Director Robin Sessions Cooley. “The Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act  program and the Workforce Development Training Fund, including our Apprenticeship Grants and Internship Grants, can help a person obtain not just a job, but a career.”

The Governor’s decision was welcomed by Chris Brown, Executive Director of the Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association. The hospitality industry was among the hardest hit by the pandemic, but he said the industry is now struggling to hire staff.

“We applaud Governor Gordon’s leadership with this decision and we look forward to providing true Wyoming hospitality to the visiting public as we continue to recover as an industry,” Brown said.

About The Author

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.

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