Either way, the unemployed lose

Added March 24th, 2011 by Peter Ruark | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Peter Ruark

The Legislature has just passed a needed technical fix to the state’s Unemployment Insurance  system that lets long-term unemployed workers continue to receive federally funded Extended Benefits beyond 79 weeks as they look for work.

That is a good thing. If the Legislature did not act this week to make the fix, the total weeks of available Extended Benefits for today’s unemployed workers would be reduced from 99 to 79.

The same bill, however, reduces the length of basic state-funded unemployment benefits from 26 to 20 weeks for workers who apply for benefits on or after Jan. 15, 2012. At that time, there will likely be fewer or no federally funded benefit weeks available. Without federal benefits, this bill effectively limits to 20 weeks the length of time that unemployed workers can receive Unemployment Insurance.

Additional weeks of benefits that are fully or partially paid by the federal government are available only during periods of high unemployment. Michigan may or may not meet the requirements for the federally funded benefits next year.

Up until now, Michigan and all other states have provided a maximum of 26 or more weeks of basic UI benefits. It is ironic that the state with the highest unemployment rate for most of the past four years is the first to pass a bill lowering the number of maximum weeks.

There was a public outcry when the Legislature balked at making the technical fix keeping the benefits beyond 79 weeks in place. The Legislature heeded the public and made the fix, but took away benefits for future unemployed workers.

As of this writing, the governor has not yet signed the bill. If he signs it, future unemployed workers will lose benefits. If he vetoes it, today’s long-term unemployed workers will lose benefits. Either way, the unemployed lose.

Gov. Snyder needs to veto this bill and demand that the Legislature send him a “clean” technical fix to continue Extended Benefits for long-term unemployed workers. Click here to communicate to the governor that this is the best course of action.

— Peter Ruark

One Response to “Either way, the unemployed lose”

  1. Jeanne Pearl-Wright says:

    I completely agree with the last paragraph. This is by far the most mean spirited of all acts to this point. I can only wish that those with the yes votes end up on some factory floor at $10 an hour on 12 hour shifts and then loose that job. We cut unemloyment to help make jobs, come on. Is evreybody trying to follow in Walmart foot steps so that working people still qualify for government taxpayer dollar programs while they turn profits? Sad state of affairs. Had no clue it would get to this point.

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