Unemployment extensions go into effect

The following is a message from the DELEG:

Many of the 70,000 to 80,000 unemployed Michigan workers who have exhausted their jobless benefits will start receiving the newly authorized additional federal unemployment benefits this week, while a few who had active unemployment claims began receiving the additional benefits last week, making Michigan one of the first states to start paying the new federal benefits.

Those claiming the extra federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits on Monday will receive those benefit payments by late Wednesday, Stephen Geskey, director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), reported today. We have been very aggressive in doing all that we can to get these benefits into the hands of Michigan TMs unemployed. By contrast, some states have said they will not begin paying these federal benefits until mid-December.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, those contacting UIA TMs MARVIN system to claim the benefits on Tuesday will receive their benefits on Friday, while those contacting MARVIN later in the week will receive their benefits on Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Geskey noted, however, that the first payment will be for one week or less and could range from $73 to $387.

The first payment will cover the up to one week that was added to the second tier of the EUC program, Geskey explained. Tier II originally provided up to 13 weeks or 50 percent of what the individual received in state benefits, but the recent federal legislation expanded the tier up to 14 weeks or 54 percent of the individual TMs state benefits.

Those contacting MARVIN this week will be claiming two weeks of benefits for weeks ending November 7 and November 14, which are the first weeks for which these new EUC benefits can be paid. Initially, however, only one week will be issued.

To remedy the first payment only covering one week, UIA staff will be working overtime on Friday and Saturday to issue the second week TMs payment as quickly as possible, Geskey said. If the second week is not issued by the unemployed worker TMs next MARVIN appointment, three payments will be issued when that MARVIN contact is made. Payments for this group of unemployed will then be current.

The second week TMs payment will be paid on the newly created EUC Tier III, which provides up to 13 weeks of federal benefits or 50 percent of what the individual received in state benefits. The new EUC Tier IV provides up to an additional six weeks in high unemployment states. However, unemployed workers will not enter the next tier in the program if they exhaust their current weeks of benefits after December 26, 2009, as the EUC program expires on December 31, 2009.

The agency advised unemployed workers using the Michigan UI Debit Card to contact Chase Bank TMs customer service office at 1-866-523-2122 to verify when benefits have been added to their card, while those with direct deposit should contact their bank to confirm if benefits have been deposited into their bank account.