Lawsuit contends ending benefits hurt workers and the SC economy

Lexington County Chronicle
August 26, 2021

A business group wants federal unemployment benefits reinstated.

SC Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty has approved the filing of a friend of the court brief challenging the legality of the state ending federal unemployment benefits.

Gov. Henry McMaster and Daniel Ellzey, SC Department of Employment and Workforce head, ended the federal benefits at the request of other business groups and employers.

They contended the $600 a week benefits discouraged employees from returning to work as it was more lucrative to stay home.

Columbia attorney Jack Cohoon, local counsel for the Amicus Brief.  SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center, filed the lawsuit.

The brief by the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce, the American Sustainable Business Council and others contends that:

  • Unemployment benefits support businesses by increasing consumer spending.
    • They help employers and the labor market by supporting  workers in finding good jobs.
    • Ending the benefits hurt unemployed people’s ability  to meet the basic needs of their families as they sought work.
    • The unemployed need help while the economy recovers.
    • Prematurely cutting off the benefits does not encourage people to go back to work.
    • It disproportionately harms workers of color, women, and their families.
    • The governor should reinstate the benefits retroactively.

Frank Knapp Jr, CEO of the SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce, said the decision devalued the self-employed who were shut out and hurt small businesses by denying up to $900 million from being spent with them.

Should federal unemployment be restored? | Lexington County Chronicle (

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