Unemployment benefits extended in Michigan for up to 59 weeks

Michigan's Unemployment Agency
Michigan's Unemployment Agency(WILX)
Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 4:33 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Unemployed workers in Michigan now can claim benefits for over a full year.

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency is working with the Federal Extended Benefits program to offer an additional 20 weeks of benefits. Those are in addition to Michigan’s 26 weeks and 13 more weeks offered under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

That is a total of 59 weeks, so workers who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic in March could claim unemployment benefits well into next spring.

The extended federal benefits program begins paying out when a state’s unemployment rate stays above 8% for three or more consecutive months. MIchigan’s unemployment currently stands at 8.7%.

“The Extended Benefit program will provide a much-needed safety net for Michiganders who have exhausted their current benefits and are still dealing with the long-term effects of unemployment due to COVID-19,” said Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Steve Gray.

The extended federal benefits have the same requirement as Michigan’s state unemployment benefits system. Workers must be unemployed or underemployed, available for work and certify their claim every other week.

The federal extended benefits pay the same rate as the state, which is currently a maximum of $362 per week.

Nearly 2.3 million Michigan workers have received nearly $24 billion worth of unemployment benefits since March, which equals about $10,000 paid to each person claiming benefits on average.

The number of unemployment accounts requiring identification verification soared from 28,000 to about 80,000 over the past two weeks. Gray attributed the increase to a rush of potential scammers flooding the system while Michigan offers the $300 weekly benefit from FEMA.

Nearly 13,000 unemployment claims in Michigan are on hold while they await a one-on-one evaluation.

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