Over the holiday weekend, Tennessee joined 25 other states in opting out of additional federal unemployment assistance, meaning unemployed Tennesseans will no longer receive an additional $300 per week in federal assistance.
Signed into law back in March, the American Rescue Plan Act not only included an additional $300 in unemployment assistance to Americans through Sept. 6, but also loosened unemployment eligibility requirements to include part-time, self-employed and gig workers.
Back in May, however, Gov. Bill Lee announced that Tennessee would be opting out of the federal unemployment assistance programs effective July 3, citing what he considered to be an abundance of jobs in the state.
In June, Lee commented on his decision to opt out of federal assistance and argued that the measure would "help move people to full employment" and off of unemployment. Lee also shared anecdotes of "companies and small businesses struggling to find workers" as a reason for opting out of the federal assistance.
The federal unemployment assistance programs Tennesseans will no longer see include the following:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which provides for the additional $300 in weekly benefits
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which provides benefits for those who typically wouldn't qualify such as self-employed, gig and part-time workers
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides for an extension of benefits once regular benefits have been exhausted
- Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation, which provides an additional $100 in benefits to those with mixed earnings