Press Releases | Reverse Six-week Cut to State Unemployment Insurance
State action results in significant loss of federally funded unemployment insurance
U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) today joined every other member of the Michigan Congressional Delegation in sending letters to state legislative leaders and Gov. Snyder urging them to reverse the Republican action last year that cut Michigan’s unemployment program from 26 weeks to 20 weeks. That cut took effect this year and will cause Michiganders to lose an additional 11-14 weeks of federal unemployment insurance, meaning Michigan’s unemployed workers will lose access to more federal weeks than any state in the nation. The letter to State Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, House Speaker Jase Bolger and Democratic Leader Richard Hammel is available here and below. The letter to Gov. Snyder is available here.
“With the simple action of restoring the state unemployment program to 26 weeks - the place it was since its inception – you can allow Michigan’s unemployed workers – actively seeking work - to access 100% federally funded unemployment insurance should they need it going forward,” wrote the Michigan Congressional Delegation. “We urge you to act immediately.”
February 22, 2012
Dear Senators Richardville and Whitmer and Representatives Bolger and Hammel:
Last year we expressed our deep concern that the Michigan Legislature passed and you passed legislation to cut the state unemployment insurance program from 26 to 20 weeks. We warned that this misguided action would result in a double benefit cut for unemployed workers in Michigan because the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program is calculated based on a percentage of the underlying state benefits, and urged you to veto that legislation.
Unfortunately, the state cut from 26 to 20 weeks went into effect in January and is now negatively impacting Michiganders struggling to find work as our state recovers from the deepest economic recession and financial crisis in decades.
Now that a new framework for federal unemployment insurance has been put in place for the remainder of the year through the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, the misguided state action will result in Michigan unemployed workers losing access to more federal weeks than any state in the nation.
Because the structure within the federal unemployment program is based on the state program the misguided reduction of six weeks of state benefits will result in Michigan also giving up between 11 and 14 weeks of 100% federally funded benefits this year. As you know, already 47,000 individuals have filed initial state claims for unemployment insurance since the state cut in weeks went into effect. If those individuals need access to the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, they will receive the reduced levels.
Total Weeks of unemployment benefits available to Michigan Workers under Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act
Weeks of Unemployment Insurance Available to Michigan Workers under Conference Agreement
March thru May June thru August Sept thru December
Of State Benefits 69 Weeks 62 weeks 56 weeks
Of State Benefits 89 weeks 79 weeks 73 weeks
We are pleased that through the Conference Committee, Democrats were able to reject the proposal by House Republicans that would have resulted in Michigan’s unemployed workers receiving only 46 weeks of unemployment insurance for the entire year. But the fact remains that the state law causes a very negative result for Michigan’s unemployed workers that can very easily be reversed by State action.
We have confirmed with the U.S. Department of Labor that should Michigan act to change their state law, the federal weeks would be restored going forward for those individuals who receive 26 weeks.
Our state economy is turning the corner, our auto companies are posting profits and producing the best cars in the world and other sectors are growing and new ones are emerging, but the bottom line remains that individuals, families and communities are still struggling. Nearly 450,000 Michigan workers remain unemployed and research indicates that in the Midwest there are still four individuals looking for every job opening.
With the simple action of restoring the state unemployment program to 26 weeks - the place it was since its inception – you can allow Michigan’s unemployed workers – actively seeking work - to access 100% federally funded unemployment insurance should they need it going forward.
We urge you to act immediately.
Rep. Sander Levin
Sen. Carl Levin
Rep. Dale Kildee
Rep. Gary Peters
Rep. John Dingell
Rep. John Conyers
Sen. Debbie Stabenow
Rep. Hansen Clarke