03.30.20

Michigan Implements Expansion of Unemployment Assistance Following Peters’ Legislation Being Signed into Law

CARES Act Signed into Law Last Week Included Peters-led Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act

DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today welcomed the State of Michigan’s announcement today that it will expand unemployment assistance to Michigan workers impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. The expansion was made possible because of Peters’ Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act, which was included in the federal, bipartisan Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law last week.

Peters’ bill creates an unemployment compensation program to provide federally funded benefits to people unable to work because of the Coronavirus. It expands who is eligible for unemployment to include workers who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits or other workers who would not usually qualify, such as self-employed workers like small business owners, freelance workers, independent contractors, and seasonal workers as well as individuals who’ve recently started or were about to start a new job. Workers will receive benefits for up to 39 weeks. Through the CARES Act, workers can receive $600 per week in additional unemployment compensation. The program will be administered by the State of Michigan.

“Michiganders who aren’t receiving a paycheck or have lost their jobs because of the Coronavirus pandemic shouldn’t have to worry about whether they can pay their bills or put food on the table,” said Senator Peters. “I worked to enact my Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act into law because we need to ensure workers – including those who are self-employed and work in the gig economy – have the resources to get through this crisis. I applaud Governor Whitmer’s decision to use this law to expand assistance to more Michiganders affected to help them stay afloat during this incredibly challenging time.”

Peters’ bill is modeled on the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program and is tailored to help those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. While Congress has provided this type of temporary unemployment benefits in response to disasters, it had not previously done so in response to a public health crisis.

The program will be particularly helpful for those workers who are self-employed or without sufficient work history to qualify for regular unemployment insurance.

Workers who qualify for assistance under the program include:

  • Individuals who have Coronavirus, need to self-quarantine to protect themselves and cannot reach their place of employment, or are caring for someone with the disease;
  • Individuals who must care for a child because of a school closure;
  • Individuals who are working reduced hours due to Coronavirus; and
  • Individuals whose employers closed due to Coronavirus

Benefits and administrative costs associated with this program will be federally funded through the federal unemployment insurance trust fund. The program is administered by state unemployment offices. The CARES Act will eliminate the typical weeklong waiting period between applying for and receiving unemployment assistance.

Michigan workers and small businesses can learn more about applying for the expanded assistance by visiting Senator Peters’ website or Michigan.gov/UIA.

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