The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) today advised workers that unless Congress takes action, federal unemployment insurance (UI) programs provided under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will end on December 26, 2020.
The UIA estimates that the unemployment benefits of nearly 692,000 Michigan workers may be affected unless Congress acts swiftly to extend UI provisions under CARES. The federal legislation expanded UI to provide Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to many workers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including workers who are not ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits, such as self-employed, independent contractors and gig economy workers. CARES also provided Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) which allowed an additional 13 weeks of benefits to those who exhausted their regular state claim and federal reimbursements for Work Share benefits.
Claimants receiving benefits under PUA (487,000 workers) or PEUC (205,000 workers) programs who have not exhausted all of their eligible benefit weeks, will not be paid benefits for any weeks after December 26.
“We’re hopeful that Congress will take action to protect access to critical unemployment assistance for Michigan workers whose jobs have been affected by COVID-19,” said UIA Acting Director Liza Estlund Olson. “Allowing these programs to expire is not only harmful to Michigan workers, but it would be devastating to Michigan’s economy.”
Michigan’s average weekly unemployment benefit is currently estimated at $319. The expiration of around 700,000 unemployment claims could result in over $220M that would not go into workers’ pockets or the state’s economy each week.
There is currently legislation pending in the State Legislature that would continue certain unemployment expansions but is unrelated to the CARES programs. The UIA is hopeful new state legislation will be passed this week.
If additional state or federal legislation is passed, updates about new or extended unemployment benefit programs will be posted on the UIA website at www.Michigan.gov/uia.
Other state assistance programs are available for Michiganders who need assistance with making ends meet. Through the Michigan Department of Health and Humans Services MI Bridges program, claimants can apply for healthcare coverage, food and cash assistance, and more. MI Bridges also list helpful state and local resources.
Resources for jobseekers, including, training, workshops, access to job fairs and more are available through local Michigan Works! service centers. Call 800-285-WORKS or visit michiganworks.org.