Ahead of the Sept. 6 expiration of expanded unemployment benefits at the federal level, U.S. Rep. Troy A. Carter Sr., is calling on Gov. John Bel Edwards to retroactively reinstate expanded unemployment benefits for Louisiana residents. The option to make these benefits retroactive ends on Monday, Sept. 6.
Yielding to pressure from business owners and interests that blamed the lack of available workers on UI benefits instead low wages, the state legislature passed and the Gov. Edwards signed into law a measure that ended all federally-funded enhanced benefits at the end of July, about one month earlier than the programs were set to end. In exchange for cutting tens of thousands of Louisianans off from a much-needed lifeline, a meager $28 boost to state unemployment benefits that will not kick in until early 2022 was approved to bring the state’s top UI payment of $247 a week up to $275. In addition to ending the enhanced benefits, the move also ended benefits for self-employed and gif workers receiving assistance from federally-funded programs.
“Right now, people across the state are recovering from one of the strongest hurricanes to ever make landfall,” Carter wrote in a letter to Edwards. “Louisianians, especially those who have been out of work, need money in their pockets right now. Thousands of Louisianians are looking for ways to pay for hotel rooms, gas, and basic necessities. Reinstating expanded unemployment benefits will enable many people the means to access food and shelter; basic necessities that every human should be afforded regardless of their employment or financial circumstances. Governor, the time to act is now.”