Legislation extends emergency unemployment compensation

Congress recently passed legislation to extend Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) through the end of 2012. The new legislation has been signed by President Obama and went into effect on March 23.

The enacted legislation has made several changes to the EUC program’s filing deadlines. Additionally, all claimants collecting EUC benefits will be required to perform weekly work-searches in order to remain eligible to collect benefits. Further, new claimants entering into EUC Tiers 1 or 2 will be required to make an in-person visit to a local Michigan Works! office for reemployment services. The Agency is in the process of mailing detailed information regarding the new requirements to claimants.

For additional information regarding changes to the EUC program, claimants may contact the UIA in the following ways:

  • Call the UIA Customer Service Line at (866) 500-0017 to speak with an agent. Agents will be available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Additionally, the Agency’s phone lines will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 31, to assist customers.
  • Visit the UIA website at www.michigan.gov/uia to review EUC program updates or to submit an inquiry to the Agency’s Virtual Problem Resolution (ViPR) agents who are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 31.
  • Call the Agency’s Emergency Unemployment Compensation hotline, (800) 638-3995 for pre-recorded updates to EUC program information.

Due to potentially high call volumes, the Agency recommends customers interact with its ViPR agents through an online claim web account. To register for an online claim web account, visit www.michigan.gov/uia and select “UIA Online Services for Unemployed Workers.” Users will be taken to a login page where they can register and create their online account with the Agency.

Those who have exhausted unemployment benefits can find additional resources for health care, family support, housing, and more, by visiting www.michigan.gov/helpinghand. Unemployed workers should also visit Pure Michigan Talent Connect at http:www.mitalent.org to obtain information regarding job and training

opportunities.

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara. Follow us on Twitter www.twitter.com/michiganLARA, “Like” us on Facebook or find us on YouTube www.youtube.com/michiganLARA.

Questions and answers regarding changes to Emergency Unemployment

What are federal unemployment benefits?

During periods of high unemployment in a state, Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefits (EB) may become available to workers who have exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits. Historically, the EUC program provided up to 53 weeks of UI benefits and the EB program provided up to 20 weeks of UI benefits. Both programs are funded by the federal government. Currently, just the EUC program is available to claimants who have exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits. The EB program ended with the week ending Feb. 18, 2012.

How are claimants entering EUC Tiers 1 and 2 directly affected by recent legislation?

Individuals who are entering Tiers 1 or 2 of the EUC program are required to report in-person to a local Michigan Works! office for reemployment services.

How will EUC Tier 4 claimants be immediately affected by recent

legislation?

There are 10,291 individuals currently receiving unemployment benefits on EUC Tier 4. Each will be eligible to receive up to 16 weeks of benefits. This means the total number of potentially available benefit weeks for EUC Tier 4 increased from six to 16. From June 1, 2012, through Sept. 2, 2012, the maximum number of benefit weeks available on EUC Tier 4 will be six. After Sept. 2, 2012 through the end of the year, the maximum number of benefit weeks available on EUC Tier 4 will be up to 10.

How can a claimant determine how many weeks of benefits he/she will receive?

Claimants can access this information online through their Claimant Web Account or call MARVIN (Michigan Automated Response Voice Interactive Network) at 1-866-638-3993 and select Option 2.

What criterion is used to qualify states for the EUC program?

With the most recent federal legislation authorized by Congress and President Obama, the EUC program has been extended until week ending Dec. 29, 2012. However, the maximum number of benefit weeks available through the EUC program will be gradually reduced through Sept. 2, 2012. Additionally, the federal government established unemployment rate thresholds that the state must meet in order to remain eligible for the EUC program. In Michigan, the total unemployment rate (TUR) must be at a certain percentage (based on a three month average) for the state to remain eligible for EUC. For general purposes, the state’s three month average TUR must remain at 9 percent or above to be eligible to provide all four tiers of the EUC program.

When is the last week payable for EUC benefits?

The last week payable for the EUC program will be week ending Dec. 29, 2012.

What should claimants do if they will soon exhaust their EUC

benefits?

Unemployed workers with online web accounts with the UIA can check their “Benefit Payment History” for information about their remaining weeks of benefits. Workers who have not established online accounts can call MARVIN at 1-866-638-3993 and press option 2. Additional information about the end of EUC will be posted on the UIA website (www.michigan.gov/uia). In addition, the Agency has established a toll-free telephone number 1-866-MI-HELPS (1-888-644-3577) for people to call for pre-recorded information about the extension program and their remaining benefits. Individuals can visit www.mitalent.org for job and training

information.