Unemployed may lose extended benefits

LANSING — The Extended Benefit program may end in Michigan as new federal jobless numbers are below the level required by federal law to continue the EB program and preventing the state’s unemployed workers from continuing to receive the remaining 20 weeks of benefits. The payable period for Michigan in EB will conclude April 2, 2011.

The EB program provides up to 20 weeks of unemployment benefits to those who exhaust their state and Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits. The weekly benefit amount is the same as what the individual received in state benefits.

Based on data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan no longer meets the 110 percent criteria to remain in the EB program.

Unless state legislation is adopted that changes the criteria for paying extended benefits at 100 percent federal funding, Michigan’s EB program will discontinue.

Governor Rick Snyder’s administration has asked for and supports legislation that would continue the EB through the end of the year.

By law, when a state no longer qualifies for EB, there is a three week phase-out period after which no further EB payments can be made. During the phase-out period any new EB claims are charged 50 percent federal and 50 percent state (employer charges). Legislation to extend the EB program would eliminate the 50 percent employer charges.

Michigan will conclude its EB payable period with payment for week ending April 2, 2011.

“Approximately 150,000 unemployed workers in Michigan could potentially be affected by the loss of the EB program. These are individuals who are currently on EB and those who could exhaust all of their benefits on the federal EUC extension before the end of this year and then will be unable to apply for EB,” said Steve Arwood, Deputy Director of the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. “The state unemployment agency is in the process of notifying those in the Extended Benefit program that benefits will cease for everyone receiving EB effective the week ending April 2.”

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 EB will be posted on the UIA website at www.michigan.gov/uia. In addition, the agency has established a toll-free telephone number at 1-866-MI-HELPS for people to call for pre-recorded information about the extension program and their remaining benefits.

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