Commissioner Michael Harrington
Remarks on Federal Unemployment Benefits Ending September 4th
Governer's Press Conference
August 10, 2021
"As many of you may know, the federal extended unemployment benefit programs created by the CARES Act are scheduled to expire on September 4, 2021, marking the last full benefit week in Vermont for:
• Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which is the program for self-employed, independent contractors and others who don’t qualify for traditional UI.
• Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which has allowed claimants in regular UI to continue to file after they’ve exhausted their state benefits.
• And Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which provides an additional $300 per week added to each claimant’s benefit check, across all programs.
To give folks an idea of the size of these programs… as of July 31, there were roughly 14,900 Vermonters filing for weekly benefits.
Approximately 5,800 individuals were filing in PUA. Approximately 3,800 individuals were filing in PEUC and approximately 5,300 individuals were filing in the regular state UI program.
This means, we are expecting that about 10,000 claimants will no longer being eligible for unemployment benefits after September 4th, and all claimants will see a drop in benefit by $300 as FPUC expires.
These programs played an important role in providing temporary assistance to make sure many Vermonters received the support they needed through difficult and uncertain times.
As we approach the end of these benefits, it’s important that those still enrolled are aware of the opportunities available to them in the job market and that The Department of Labor can help them move back into the workforce before September 4th.
That’s why the Department has been connecting with claimants through direct mail, email, and phone, as well as through our program materials, to ensure they are aware of this fast-approaching date.
And… on the workforce development side, our team of local career specialists have been conducting direct phone calls to claimants on the PEUC and PUA programs to ensure claimants are aware of the free workforce support services the Department offers.
We know that the longer an individual is out of work, the more difficult it can be to reenter the workforce, and because of this, our local Job Centers throughout the state are open for in-person and virtual services and we will be expanding the number of hours available over the next few weeks.
With offices now open to in-person services in Barre, Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlington, Middlebury, Rutland, St. Albans, and St. Johnsbury, and virtual services by-appointment across the state, our local career specialists are ready to assist you with job placement efforts and training opportunities.
There are currently more than 8,800 jobs in Vermont JobLink, and we can pinpoint the best jobs available in each region, for each claimant, and help make that important first connection.
Our team is also holding weekly virtual workshops and events, including sessions on resume writing, re-employment strategies, and interviewing, as well as virtual job fairs to help link jobseekers with employers.
I encourage anyone looking for a job to attend some or all these sessions.
These services are completely free and a great way to begin reengaging with the employers. More on this can be found at Labor.Vermont.gov/Jobs.… We know that many businesses are looking to fill good positions today, so our team is also there to support employers looking for talent through job promotion, hiring event coordination, and applicant referrals. Employers can also find out more by visiting labor.vermont.gov/jobs.
We know the end of these programs could be a difficult transition for some of our neighbors, and at the Department of Labor we want to help to get folks back to work as soon as possible, so please, if this applies to you, and you’re looking for a place to start, we’re here to help; reach out us so we can help you find your next career. Individuals and employers without consistent internet access can also contact our main workforce development by phone at 833-719-1051 or by email at email@example.com."