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SC Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against McMaster over ending federal unemployment benefits

Gov. Henry McMaster said Monday the decision of whether children should wear masks in the...
Gov. Henry McMaster said Monday the decision of whether children should wear masks in the classroom should be left to parents, not school districts.(Live 5)
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 3:55 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - The South Carolina Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a lawsuit against Gov. Henry McMaster over ending the state’s participation in federal unemployment benefits.

The lawsuit’s plaintiffs argued they had suffered hardships after McMaster ordered pandemic-related unemployment benefits from the federal government be cut off in June. Those benefits were originally scheduled to run through September, adding an extra $300 a week to unemployed workers in South Carolina via money from the CARES Act.

The ruling comes after a circuit court also dismissed the lawsuit in August.

“Our goal has always been to usher in a rapid economic recovery that will lift all South Carolinians and benefit generations to come, and we’ve done that,” McMaster said of the ruling in a statement. “Rather than working to incentivize South Carolinians to accept one of the thousands of available jobs in our state, these federal benefits presented a clear danger to the health of our state’s businesses by keeping people home. Now, we will continue our tireless work to match qualified South Carolinians with available jobs around our state.”

The governor’s office also said state unemployment has decreased by 0.4% since announcing the move in May, with 25,000 more South Carolinas working now than during that time.

“We are very happy with the Supreme Court’s decision. The federal programs were voluntary and states had the option to participate,” said Dan Ellzey, Executive Director of the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce. “As South Carolina employers ramped up their hiring in the spring of this year and employment opportunities continued to outnumber individuals looking for work, it became evident that it was time for the state to focus more on reemployment.”

Ellzey added that thousands of positions remain open across South Carolina.

You can read the South Carolina Supreme Court’s full opinion below:

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