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    Michigan residents who are currently out of work and dependent on federal unemployment benefits could begin to see them phase out, despite hard lobbying efforts by citizens and Michigan organizations. The federally-funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program and the Extended Employment (EB) program will begin to phase out by federal law February 28. .   

    Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has sent out letters to all of the residence in the state who are receiving these benefits, to warn them of their soon to expire safety net. They have also made sure to inform the recipients that without Congressional action that these benefits may not be renewed.

    The EUC program is distributed to those only after they have exhausted the 26 weeks of state unemployment benefits. The EUC program will account for an additional 53 weeks of benefits. If a citizen is still unemployed after this time they may receive benefits through the Extended Benefits (EB) program, which is also federally-funded, for an additional 20 weeks.

    The state of Michigan alone has a case load of 230,000 people collecting benefits. There is an additional 290,000 people receiving benefits from EUC in Michigan and another 20,200 receiving EB benefits.

    There has recently been action taking place on behalf of Michigan's unemployed. The UAW, Michigan Alliance of Cooperative, Michigan League for Human Services, and the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network are some of the Michigan organizations who have entered into a coalition with over 200 other local, state, and national organizations across the United States. They are urging Congress to extend unemployment benefits for another year. They are also urging concerned citizens to take action by sending letters to Congress.

    It is expected that Congress will indeed extend these benefits but doing it in a timely manner may be the deciding factor in if Michigan residents will have to go without assistance. U.S. Rep Mark Schauer (D) Michigan, who voted yes to pass the last benefit extension, shows concern with the Senate who has yet to pass a bill. However, Sen. Carl Levin (D) Michigan, says he is actively urging his fellow Senators to pass a bill that will extend benefits to the end of the year in a timely manner.

    If an extension is not passed there is an estimated 500,000 unemployed Michigan workers who are expected to run out of benefits by the end of July.

    Sources and Related Content:

    The Michigan Messenger

    Mlive Business

    Mlive Job Search

    WHTC

    WILX

    UIA

    UnionVoice

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