Judge Orders Oklahoma to Reinstate $300 Federal Jobless Benefit

Judge Orders Oklahoma to Reinstate $300 Federal Jobless Benefit

(TheIndependentStar.com) – During the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government instituted an extra $300 payment for those on unemployment benefits. The goal was to assist people who were out of work to maintain their lifestyles until they could return to employment.

The mandate ended in Oklahoma on June 26 with an order from Governor Kevin Stitt (R), who opted out of the program. Now, a court case challenging the governor’s right to cut benefits secured an extension for workers in the state. On August 6, District Judge Anthony Bonner Jr. issued a preliminary injunction to keep the payments going.

Governor Stitt decided to end the benefits early as a way to encourage people to get back to work, assist with the state’s labor shortage, and encourage pandemic recovery efforts. He also provided for a $1,200 incentive for those who do return to work.

There has been plenty of debate about whether these extra payments have kept people from returning to work. Some argue that people have been earning more on unemployment than they would by going to work, a situation that has effectively encouraged them to remain unemployed. Others counter that there is no proof this is the case.

The extended benefits under the CARES Act are set to expire on September 6. The judge’s extension in Oklahoma will last until a final order in the case or the original expiration date, whichever comes first.

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