Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today offered an amendment to reform the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program as part of legislation currently under consideration by the full Senate that would extend unemployment benefits.
"We need to ensure that only those who are actively seeking work but cannot find it are receiving these benefits," said Coats. "I have heard repeatedly from frustrated employers in Indiana who have offered jobs but are told by the applicants that they would rather keep collecting unemployment benefits until they run out. This undermines the core idea of a program designed to help those only in emergency situations who are unable to secure employment."
The Coats amendment would strengthen existing requirements to ensure unemployment benefits are going to individuals actively looking for work and individuals who truly want to return to the labor force. The amendment would prohibit individuals from receiving EUC benefits if they fail to accept any offer of suitable work (defined as work within their capabilities) or if they refuse to apply for suitable work referred to them by a state employment agency. States would have flexibility to enforce this requirement consistent with their state laws.
The Coats amendment also would align work requirements in both federal unemployment benefits programs. The permanent Extended Benefits program already contains the suitable work requirement in statute. This amendment would not impact the unemployment programs currently run by states during the first 26 weeks of unemployment.
A vote on the Coats amendment has not yet been set.