Gov. Jim Justice has joined 20 other Republican governors in announcing plans to end federal supplemental unemployment benefits, claiming “a lot, lot, lot of folks are scamming the system” by accepting the extra $300-a-week payment.
Justice said Friday, and reiterated Monday, that he is ordering the $300 payments cut off from West Virginians effective June 19, even though Congress voted to extend the benefit to Sept. 6 as part of the American Rescue Plan Act.
“If you’re just taking advantage of this program, I think that time is over,” Justice said in announcing the cutoff Friday. “West Virginians have access to thousands of jobs right now. We want everybody back to work.”
While Justice’s comments have focused on the 24,000 West Virginians receiving $300 supplemental unemployment payments under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, according to the WorkForce West Virginia website, the order also will cut off $300 weekly benefits to self-employed workers and independent contractors under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, affecting another 18,000 residents.