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Extended Benefit Program Ends in Michigan - Up to 20 weeks of federally-funded benefits no longer available

Agency: Unemployment Insurance Agency

February 3, 2012 - The Extended Benefit (EB) program will end as Michigan's jobless numbers are below the level required by federal law to continue the EB program. Michigan fell below the required level on January 28, 2012.

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

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

Michigan will conclude its EB payable period with payment for week ending February 18, 2012. Approximately 29,500 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 month and then will be unable to apply for EB. 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 with payment for week ending February 18, 2012.

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 (www.michigan.gov/uia) and available through pre-recorded updates on the agency's new toll-free unemployment update line, 1-800-638-3995. In addition, the agency has established a toll-free telephone number (1-866-MI-HELPS) for people to call for pre-recorded information about the extension program and their remaining benefits. For information regarding additional resources for health care, family support, housing, and more, individuals can visit 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 those still unemployed.

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara.
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Questions and Answers Regarding the Status of Michigan's Extended Benefits Program

What are EB 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. The current EUC program provides up to 53 weeks of UI benefits and the EB program provides up to 20 weeks of UI benefits. Both programs are funded by the federal government.

What factors trigger a state on or off EB?

Whether EB can be paid is determined by a calculation called the insured unemployment rate (IUR). The IUR is a 13-week moving average of UI weeks of benefits claimed divided by the number of people covered for UI. In order for EB to begin to be paid in a state, the state's IUR must be at least 5.0%, and the current IUR must be 20% higher than the average rate for the same period in both of the last two years. The alternative method of triggering on is the total unemployment rate (TUR). If the state TUR is at least 6.5% and is 10% higher than the average TUR for the same period during any of the last three years, claimants may be eligible for EB. A state "triggers off" the program when the criteria for either of the above methods are no longer met.

How many claimants are currently receiving unemployment benefits through Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency?

As of January 1, 2012, approximately 268,924 claimants are currently receiving benefits in Michigan. This includes individuals receiving regular state unemployment benefits, Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits.

How many claimants will be affected if the state triggers off its Extended Benefits program at the end of January?

Approximately 29,504 claimants' EUC and EB benefits would be affected. As of January 1, there are 23,511 collecting EB and 5,993 collecting EUC Tier IV benefits, the tier which precedes EB.

How does a claimant determine how many remaining weeks of benefits they 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.

How are the federal programs paid for?

The federal government funds both the EUC and EB programs. Most Michigan employers are not charged for any EUC and EB benefits paid to claimants. Government employers and Indian Tribes and Tribal units, however, will still be charged 100 percent for EB.

When is the last week payable for EB benefits?

Although current EB benefits will trigger off the week ending January 28, 2012, there is a three-week phase out period for the EB program, which would make the week ending February 18, 2012, the last week payable.

What should claimants do if they are currently receiving Extended Benefits?

Extended Benefits (EB) is the last extension program available in Michigan. Additional information about the end of EB 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 (1-866-644-3577) for people to call for pre-recorded information about the extension program and their remaining benefits. Additionally, claimants can call and check the unemployment update information line at 1-800-638-3995 for prerecorded information regarding the EB program that may affect them. Claimants can also obtain information available through Helping Hand, at www.michigan.gov/helpinghand

The Department of Human Services offers several programs to assist low-income individuals. The MiBridges program allows individuals to apply for food assistance benefits on-line without needing to visit their DHS office. Individuals can also complete a short self-screening questionnaire to determine what benefits they may be eligible to receive. http://www.mibridges.michigan.gov/access/

Unemployed workers should also visit Pure Michigan Talent Connect at http://www.mitalent.org to obtain information regarding job and training opportunities.

 
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