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Politics & Government

State officials are waiting for federal guidance on renewed jobless payments

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steve carmody
/
Michigan Radio

Officials with Michigan’s state unemployment insurance agency expect there will be a delay for people claiming federal jobless benefits.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion pandemic relief package. But the president’s delay in signing the bipartisan deal means Michiganders relying on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) programs saw those benefits lapse over the weekend.

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency says the renewed programs will provide all unemployment recipients with an additional $300 per week for several months into 2021.

“The continuation of these benefits coupled with the additional $300 in weekly payments for all claimants will provide our workers with the emergency financial assistance to buy essential items like groceries and prescription drugs,” says Liza Estlund Olson, acting director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency.

But Michigan and other states must wait for guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before they can begin processing the benefits provided under the new legislation

Nearly 700,000 Michigan workers have been receiving the federal unemployment aid tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.  State officials say claimants do not need to contact the UIA regarding these changes at this time.

The extensions and expansions include:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Extends and phases out PUA, a temporary federal program covering self-employed and gig workers, to March 14 (after which no new applicants) through April 5, 2021.
    • Provides additional weeks for those who would otherwise exhaust benefits by extending PUA from 39 to 50 weeks— with all benefits ending April 5, 2021.
    • New PUA program eligibility requirements: New and active claimants must provide documentation to substantiate employment (not just self-certification as is currently the case) starting at the end of January.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC): Provides all unemployment recipients with an additional $300 per week from Dec. 27 through Mar. 13, 2021.
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): Extends and phases out PEUC, which provides additional weeks when state unemployment runs out, to March 14 (after which no new applications) through April 5, 2021.
  • Provides additional weeks for those who would otherwise exhaust benefits by increasing weeks available from 13 to 24—with all benefits ending April 5, 2021.

The relief package also includes:

  • Extension of 100% federal financing for the use of the WorkShare program

Extension of Emergency Unemployment Relief for Governmental Entities and Nonprofit Organizations through Mar. 14

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