Michigan shortens two aid programs for its unemployed residents
Recently, Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) announced that the additional weeks in the Extended Benefits (EB) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs will not be applicable any longer. Both programs will still function as they have been, with a reduced number of weeks.
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All states have a high unemployment period (HUP), which is based on the rate of unemployment. When a state is in a HUP, seven additional weeks are added to the PUA program and additional weeks are added to the EB program. Federal data has now determined that Michigan no longer falls under HUP. This means that claimants cannot be paid any aid if they have already received benefits.
The state of Michigan issued this statement on its website and assured all claimants that they would be notified about the status of their benefits. If you are eligible for EB but have already been paid for the maximum weeks, your EB claim will be considered exhausted. Similarly, if you have been paid for 50 weeks under the PUA program, your claim will be considered exhausted. If you have been claiming EB and still haven’t found paid work, you may be eligible for benefits on alternative programs, which the state will direct you toward.
The PUA program provides aid to self-employed, temporary workers, and gig workers whose income has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This program along with the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits program was going to be discontinued nationwide on March 14, 2021. However now President Biden has signed his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package into law. According to the President’s relief package, PUA and PEUC benefits will be continued until Sept. 6, 2021, and claimants may receive an additional $300 with no interruptions in benefits.
Though Biden renewed these programs before the March 14 expiration date, states can take several weeks to reprogram their systems. Some Michigan claimants may experience a temporary loss in aid, though whether they will receive their aid retroactively is still unclear. Across the United States, the unemployment rate is 6.2% (as of February), compared with the rate of 3.5% in the year before the pandemic hit.