Unemployment running out for many families

Contact: Sharon Parks or Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436
October 21, 2010

Many jobless workers in Michigan are nearing the end of their unemployment benefits, putting new pressure on the public and private safety nets as winter approaches, a new report from the Michigan League for Human Services concludes. 

According to data from the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, 142,733 Michigan workers will lose benefits between September and the end of November because they have reached the end of their 99 weeks, the maximum allowed under law.   

By the end of April, the number of 99ers and others losing benefits as extensions expire is expected to grow to 324,264, unless Congress approves additional weeks of unemployment.  Congress could act to add additional benefits beyond 99 weeks under legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and could add weeks for other workers by extending current Unemployment Insurance provisions. 

“Unemployment has been edging down, but it still remains in the double digits. These additional workers losing support for their families at a time when jobs remain scarce is frightening,’’ said Sharon Parks, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Human Services. 

In Wayne County, 38,000 workers are expected to lose benefits, followed by Oakland with 20,000; Macomb, 18,000; Kent, 11,000 and in Genesee, 10,000. The report lists all 83 counties.

The League’s report explains the tiers of unemployment:

  • Basic Unemployment is 26 weeks and workers who have collected less than 26 weeks by Nov. 30 will be eligible for those weeks (but may have some Extended Benefits in December).
  • Those in the four tiers of Emergency Unemployment (week 27 to week 78 of Unemployment Insurance benefits) will only be able to finish the current tier (but could possibly receive Extended Benefits in December).
  • Those in Extended Benefits (week 79 to week 99, or beginning at week 27 if Basic UI runs out in December) will see benefits end Jan. 1.

Workers with questions about benefits can call the state’s Claim Inquiry Hotline at 1-866-500-0017. Additionally, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project (www.miui.org) offers advice and assistance for those in Southeast Michigan, Saginaw, Genesee and Jackson counties. Call 734.274.4331 to set up an appointment.

For more information on unemployment, go to www.unemployedworkers.org or http://www.michigan.gov/uia.

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The Michigan League for Human Services is a nonprofit, nonpartisan statewide policy and advocacy group for low-income citizens. It has a network of 1,500 individuals and organizations from business, labor, human service professions, faith-based organizations as well as concerned citizens.