Federal PUA programs to end June 26; NWA woman receiving checks responds

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – The natural state is set to end the extra $300 helping thousands of Arkansans still struggling during the pandemic.

On Friday, May 7th, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Arkansas will opt out of federal pandemic unemployment assistance after June 26th.

Even though the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows many people nationwide are getting back to work, one woman said even with work, income still is not enough.

Data from U.S. Bureau of Labor and Stastics

Susan Simler has relied on the weekly $300 checks for months now.

As a dog boarding business owner, she said the pandemic took a toll on her income as less people traveled and relied on her for boarding due to the pandemic.

While things are picking back up, she said she is still worried how her business will stay afloat after the federal benefits expire.

“If I wouldn’t have had the PUA, I probably wouldn’t have a business,” Simler said. “If we would happen to have another bad strain show up and the pandemic actually gets worse, then the PUA would not be available.”

Governor Hutchinson said the economy in Arkansas is on the comeback and jobs are opening back up, but employees are scarce today as jobs were a year ago.

“The $300 federal supplement helped thousands of Arkansans make it through this tough time, so it served a good purpose. Now we need Arkansans back on the job so that we can get our economy back to full speed,” the Governor said in a press release.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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