Help for Those Losing Extended Unemployment Benefits

By: Hannah Saunders Email
By: Hannah Saunders Email

Saturday marks the end for extended unemployment benefits for Michigan residents. The change comes as a result of the state's unemployment rate not meeting a new required level by the federal government.

Hundreds of people called, emailed and visited the Unemployment insurance Agency on South Cedar Street for help, now that they've been notified of their benefits running out, and were mailed they're last check.

UIA employees fielded questions similar to those of David Wheeler; unable to find a sufficient job and wondering how he will support himself now: "People are just having a hard time finding jobs right now and we need all the help we can get," he said.

He was laid off in October from his job as a caregiver for the elderly, and his 26 weeks of regular unemployment checks will run out this spring. He dreads what would happen if he didn't find a job before then: "I don't know what I'd do really. I just have faith that everything works out."

Even though he will have a tough time, he is still better off than people being laid off now. A state regulation says anyone applying for unemployment aid after January 15th will now only be eligible for 20 weeks.

UIA employees say this day is about making sure their clients know what other resources are available to them. "We have had a high call volume this year," explained UIA Director Steve Arwood. "People have told us they've had a tough time getting through to the agency and we wanted to make ourselves available; that's what we're here for."

David is grateful for the agency, but can't help but feel these changes came at a bad time: "It's just hard for everybody right now. At least let us get back on our feet."

Michigan, along with Maine, is the first state to have their extended benefits cut. The remaining 48 states will follow within the year.

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  • by Anonymous Location: Lansing on Feb 20, 2012 at 10:44 AM
    This is fact, did you know they do not count the people that gave up looking for a job, that is why Michigan's number of unemployed did not make the requirement. Michigan is always getting the short end of the stick- Talk to your politicians. There not helping us.
  • by Anon_1 Location: Michigan on Feb 20, 2012 at 09:50 AM
    Where are the jobs? Especially those with only a high school diploma?
  • by Anonymous on Feb 19, 2012 at 12:50 PM
    It will be nice to get some of these people back to work. The current pool of applicants looking for jobs are very willing to work but lacks skills
    • reply
      by Courtney on Feb 20, 2012 at 06:49 AM in reply to
      Or they are overqualified and not considered. Many have degrees but can't get into their fields and retail won't hire them because they are too qualified.
  • by Anonymous Location: jackson on Feb 18, 2012 at 07:48 PM
    I thought Michigan had one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, so how can we be the first to be dropped from the Federal program because our rate has fallen below the threshold that makes us eligible?
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