Governor Signs Legislation Extending Jobless Benefits

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

For thousands of Michigan's unemployed, they're just getting by on their benefits.

"It's enough to get groceries in the house and some bills paid," said Steele Sherman who will soon be receiving unemployment.

And now new legislation signed by Gov. Granholm Monday will extend that window of time that tides the jobless over from 13 weeks to 20 weeks.

"That means on average the extended unemployment benefits plus the state and federal benefits can take somebody through unemployment for up to 79 weeks," said Gov. Granholm.

More than a year of extended benefits to bank on for new and existing claims; the additional weeks are being funded by the federal Recovery Act says Granholm -- a necessity, says unemployment officials, when they're set to be slammed with nearly 70,000 extended benefits claims this month.

"During the month of April we are expecting tens of thousands of people to exhaust what is known as the Emergency Unemployment Compensation under federal law and roll into the extended benefits program," said Stephen Geskey of the Unemployment Insurance Agency.

With unemployment offices overloaded with jobless claims, state officials say the legislation comes right on time for Michigan workers and the state.

"We've hired several hundreds of people in an attempt to better serve the unemployed workers, hiring several hundred workers comes with a substantial price tag and so this money will go along way," Geskey said.

And those in the unemployment line say the extension is a lifeline.

"A lot of people out there need those extra seven weeks to find something or figure out what's going on," said Steve Allen, who is receiving unemployment benefits.

"It would definitely give us more time to find a better job ,or a job that would provide instead of just sitting on unemployment and doing nothing," Sherman said.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency says the amount they receive from the federal government depends on the number of people who use the extension, and for how long.

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  • by Dave Location: hillsdale michigan on Apr 16, 2009 at 06:13 AM
    Thoes that feel free to judge people so be it.At the cost of living maybe min wage needs raised or prices need to come way back down.You work and pay in for many things and if nessary you want some of that back when it is YOU needing help.Thousands are out of work in michigan alone.For every one job that come up,hundreds apply.Look for work,most are the best way they can.Just not enough jobs are there.Even OB says more jobs will be lost and they are.For thoes who wish to say some are takeing advanage,I'm sure you must have a job and have not been out there looking for work.Please do so and keep posting where jobs are,no matter what the pay.Even college students are working at fast food places.Sad with all that college degrees.Now gov is loaning out to bussiness which still may go under.Many in mich have no jobs and are stuck as they wait,look,pray.It is not over with yet,I just hope the gov can come up with something.Futures look dim.Jobs need to come back to the states.But how?
  • by kim Location: jackson michigan on Apr 16, 2009 at 05:20 AM
    It is a no win problem.If one has a job and gas money to go look for another job,just see how fast most don't find one.Min wage usually isn't enough to pay anything however usually the state programs will help At least with food stamp cards and maybe some bills,depending where one lives.Then again find all thoes jobs in many counties.Not there.Rents,utilities,and many things have went up and are out of control.Still homes are being lost and so many can not buy other than nessary stuff and that hurts our economy more.Some think welfare programs pay so much,well try living on them.Extending unemployment programs is the only way to help keep money going.All the decline of jobs is causing many to seek whatever is out there.The gov allowed jobs to leave,the taxing and price raises caused many to close,and many can not buy new cars and keep car companies going,so more jobs go down.More will loose jobs,then what?No jobs to find reguardless of what they pay.Judge ye not,you may be next.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 14, 2009 at 06:12 AM
    These people that have jobs, why don't you go and try to make it on minimum wage and see if you can do it. You are all ready to complain about someone that is trying to make ends meet, and make sure their family is taken care of, and that they don't lose their house. You don't know what it is like when your boss comes and tells you that your job is going to Mexico. And, until that happens you should have nothing to say. You are not paying on me my old employer payed the state unemployment benefits on me so if something like this were to happen I could draw something until I found another job. You have no right to judge me or anyone else that is trying to make it.
  • by Janice Gnagi Location: Lansing on Apr 13, 2009 at 09:06 PM
    Some people had jobs!!! Until they were all sent to mexico Etc! That's why people pay for unemployment Ins. So what about living off the State????? They payed into it so they deserve it! So you people that say we should not collect unemployment, Do you have a job for us at the same rate of pay? If you do? I will be the 1st in line.
  • by anonymous Location: michigan on Apr 13, 2009 at 01:08 PM
    Just to point i know some people are taking advantage of this, but i am a mom of two toddlers and i cant find a job that pays enough for day, i would have to go into debt to pay for daycare to take a minimum wage position. My husband makes ok money but not enough. I think that some people like me have no choice would welcome it, i have applied for over 150 positions and a bachelor degree. Just so you know not everyone is taking advantage of it.
  • by Anonymous Location: Michigan on Apr 13, 2009 at 12:46 PM
    I know what jobs are hard to find, however people need to look at getting minimum wage jobs to get off the support of the state and the employers that had to fire them. It is not fair to extend the payment of unemployment to the employers that have to pay the cost.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 13, 2009 at 12:14 PM
    These people need to make sacrifices and take a job that pays less. If we continue the subsidizing of pay, these people will have no motivation to look for jobs.
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