Michigan could cut unemployment benefits from 26 to 20 weeks
Sat, 26 Mar 2011 03:50:34 GMT —
Update: March 28th- Gov. Rick Snyder has signed the Bill. Read more here.
The governor is expected to sign legislation that would make Michigan the only state to cut unemployment benefits below the regular level.
But as NBC25 found out, the bill would also help thousands of people.
Right now the state of Michigan needs to make a technical correction to ensure Michigan receives the same federal unemployment benefits as other states.
This legislation would fix that, but at the same time cut state unemployment benefits for residents next year.
59-year-old Roy Powell has been jobless for close to two years.
He lives off $300 a week in unemployment benefits and whatever extra cash he can make with his band Flying Blind.
It hasn't been much from the band, because my bass player broke his leg. So, we actually had to cancel a gig we had, said Powell.
But there is good news for Powell.
A bill passed by the state legislature this week would give him and 35,000 other Michigan residents the ability to continue to claim their extended federal unemployment benefits through 20 weeks.
When he heard this, it was music to his ears.
I could use the money. I TMm not old enough to retire, but I TMm old enough that people really don't want to hire me. I mean they won't tell me that to my face, said Powell.
Powell says the first thing he did when he got laid off was pay off his car, pay off his home, and all of his credit card debt, because he says he wasn't sure how long he'd be unemployed.
I TMm trying to get something local because with the gas prices going wild if I make minimum wage and have to drive a long way, I TMm not going to make much money, said Powell.
However, that same bill would cut state unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20 for filers next year.
Michigan would be the first state to do this.
I don't think that's right. They worked for it. They should get it. I mean I worked for 21 years and I feel I deserve the unemployment I TMm getting, said Powell.
Until Powell lands a job, or his band takes off, he says he'll continue to sing the blues.
A spokesperson for the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency says unless there is another federal extension granted, like the one that was signed by the president last December, people in Michigan would only have 20 weeks to claim state unemployment benefits next year.
44 states have added jobs from February 2010 through last month.
Michigan created about 71,000 jobs.
If you have questions about your unemployment benefits call 1-866-500-0017, or go to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency TMs web site.
Do you think this bill should be vetoed by the governor?