The good news for those who have been waiting for word on whether or not their unemployment benefits will be extended after the end of the year is that they will. The bad news is that due to the timing in Washington D.C. there will be a hiccup causing a delay in some payments.
Michigan’s Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity today announced that existing recipients of both Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) will experience delayed certifications and payments until implementation is fully in place.
With the COVID-19 emergency relief package having finally been signed into law continuing and expanding federal unemployment insurance (UI) programs, the work begins to keep things on track.
Officials are reporting that due to the timing of the legislation’s finalization, there will be a delay in certification and payment of benefits for those currently enrolled in the federal PUA and PEUC programs beginning Saturday, December 26th. It will only be a disruption and claimants will be made whole once the extensions are fully implemented.
Existing PUA and PEUC claimants should ensure they complete any outstanding certifications through December 26th. To do that, log in to your MiWAM account and click on the inactive PUA or PEUC claim. Outstanding certifications will appear under the “Alerts” tab should there be any to be completed.
Michigan, like all states, must wait until guidance is issued by the U.S. Dept. of Labor before it can begin processing the benefits provided under the new legislation. That guidance will include new rules and instructions that will require updates to the state’s UI system, but authorities say, “rest assured that Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is making program adjustments with what information is available and will work tirelessly to implement any remaining changes as soon as it can in order to get benefits out the door as quickly as possible.”
Claimants do not need to contact the UIA regarding these changes at this time.
UI extensions and expansions include:
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): Extends and phases out PUA, a temporary federal program covering self-employed and gig workers, to March 14th (after which no new applicants) through April 5, 2021.
- Provides additional weeks for those who would otherwise exhaust benefits by extending PUA from 39 to 50 weeks— with all benefits ending April 5, 2021.
- New PUA program eligibility requirements: New and active claimants must provide documentation to substantiate employment (not just self-certification as is currently the case) starting at the end of January.
- Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC): Provides all unemployment recipients with an additional $300 per week from December 27th through March 13, 2021.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): Extends and phases out PEUC, which provides additional weeks when state unemployment runs out, to March 14th (after which no new applications) through April 5, 2021.
- Provides additional weeks for those who would otherwise exhaust benefits by increasing weeks available from 13 to 24—with all benefits ending April 5, 2021.
Liza Estlund Olson, Acting Director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency, says, “This federal extension will bring much needed relief to nearly 700,000 Michigan workers who are currently receiving benefits under the PUA and PEUC programs,” and adds, “The continuation of these benefits coupled with the additional $300 in weekly payments for all claimants will provide our workers with the emergency financial assistance to buy essential items like groceries and prescription drugs.”
The relief package also includes:
- Extension of 100-percent federal financing for the use of the WorkShare program
- Extension of Emergency Unemployment Relief for Governmental Entities and Nonprofit Organizations through March 14th
You can visit the UIA website at http://Michigan.gov/uia for more information as it becomes available.