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President Biden says people can't decline 'suitable' job offer and keep getting unemployment benefit

"We're gonna make it clear that anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits," Biden said.

Updated: May 11, 2021 - 8:33am

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President Biden on Monday said that his administration will make clear that anyone receiving unemployment will forfeit the benefit if they decline an offer for a "suitable" job position.

"We're gonna make it clear that anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits," he said, noting that there are some coronavirus-related exceptions so that individuals do not face a choice "between their basic safety and a paycheck. But otherwise, that's the law," he said.

His comments come after a jobs report last week that failed to live up to what many had anticipated and as some argue that individuals are being incentivized not to work as a consequence of supplemental unemployment benefits. 

"I think the people who claim Americans won't work even if they find a good and fair opportunity underestimate the American people. So we'll insist that the law is followed with respect to benefits. But we're not going to turn our backs on our fellow Americans," Biden said.

A White House release says that "the Secretary of Labor will issue a letter to states to reaffirm that individuals receiving UI may not continue to receive benefits if they turn down a suitable job due to a general, non-specific concern about COVID-19. In addition, the President is directing the Secretary of Labor to work with states to reinstate work search requirements for UI recipients, if health and safety conditions allow."

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