Few takers seen for NH’s ‘Summer Stipend’ employment program

Governor Chris Sununu launched the “Summer Stipend” program in May.

In May, when Governor Chris Sununu announced that New Hampshire would end several unemployment benefit programs launched during the pandemic, his stated goal was to encourage more sidelined workers to re-enter the workforce. .

In addition to the stick of reduced benefits, Sununu offered a federally funded carrot: Anyone who left the unemployment lists and found work would receive an allowance. Submit eight weeks of pay stubs and residents will receive either $ 1,000 for those who have found full-time work or $ 500 for part-time positions.

According to new data from New Hampshire Job Security, which administers the “Summer Stipend” program, only 886 residents have received allowances worth $ 711,000, well below the $ 10 million in funds. federal bailouts set aside for the program.

The state says it has received more than 1,500 applications, but many of them were from residents who had yet to maintain eight full weeks of employment.

“For the requests that were not approved, 75% of them are people who were submitted too early because they are unable to produce pay stubs for 8 weeks,” said Richard Lavers, deputy commissioner of job security of NH. “They have been asked to resubmit when they have the additional information.”

Lavers said he expects more requests to come in in the coming weeks.

“New Hampshire plans to continue their program until 2021,” Lavers said. “But time is running out, because in order to have the eight weeks of employment necessary to qualify, you will need to have started working by Halloween at the latest,” he said.

In an interview with NH Public Radio, Sununu defended his decision to terminate the unemployment benefit program prematurely, claiming that it had contributed to the reintegration of around 10,000 to 15,000 people into the labor market, although it is not clear how many new workers were previously receiving allowances.

Despite the expanding labor pool, state employers continue to face labor shortages, in areas as diverse as restaurants, nursing, and public safety.

A Wall Street Journal analysis found that Republican-led states that ended benefit programs saw “about the same job growth” as states that continued to provide benefits until. September 6, when the federal government ended several unemployment programs linked to the pandemic.

In New Hampshire, four residents recently filed a lawsuit against the state for ending the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, which provided up to $ 300 a week for self-employed workers and gig workers, two categories of workers who are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits.

Earlier this month, a Superior Court judge heard preliminary arguments in the case, but has yet to rule on how the case will play out. State attorneys urged the court to dismiss the lawsuit.

This article is shared by the partners of the Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborationnh.org.

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