UPDATE 1:24 p.m.: A spokeswoman for Governor Rick Snyder says the governor expects to sign the bill which would reduce the number of weeks jobless Michiganders will be able to recieve state unemployment benefits. Spokeswoman Sara Wurfel says:
"(The governor's) priority was to ensure no one receiving unemployment benefits was cut off abruptly. It's a lifeline for Michiganders right now - we simply can't risk tens of thousands of Michigan's families immediately losing their benefits in April. He’s continuing to work tirelessly to help turn around Michigan's economy and create more and better jobs so that we can hopefully reduce the need for unemployment in the first place."
ORIGINAL POST 12:17 p.m.: Democrats are calling on Governor Rick Snyder not to sign legislation that will reduce state unemployment benefits to Michiganders from 26 to 20 weeks. The Republican controlled legislature passed the benefits cut Wednesday, as part of a bill to continue extended federal jobless benefits to Michigan’s unemployed.
Royal Oak Congressman Sander Levin says the governor should veto the bill that will eventually reduce benefits for Michigan’s most in need.
"This is the worst time to do this for Michigan workers. I think it is reckless. It’s inexcusable.”
Cutting state benefits will reduce the cost to Michigan businesses that must pay into the unemployment fund. Cutting state unemployment benefits by 6 weeks could also reduce federal unemployment benefits by up to 16 weeks for jobless Michiganders. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce says the change will save state businesses $300 a year starting in 2012.
Levin says it’s unfair to shorten the period unemployed Michiganders can receive jobless benefits.
“The governor can say to the legislature 'Get back. Do what needs to be done here. And stop the hijacking.'”
Federal jobless benefits for 35,000 unemployed Michiganders will expire April 1st if Snyder vetoes the bill.
Here's some additional information on Michigan's unemployment benenfits:
1) In 2010 what was the average time an individual spent receiving unemployment benefits ?
In 2010, the average duration of an employment claim lasted for 19 weeks.
2) Breakdown of the number of weeks per program (state -26 wks, then the individual tiers, and EB).
- Regular State Unemployment insurance benefits are up to 26 weeks
- Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) benefits are up to 53 weeks (these include four tiers comprised of the following:
EUC Tier I - Pays up to 20 weeks of EUC benefits to those who exhaust their state unemployment benefits.
EUC Tier II - Pays up to 14 weeks of EUC to those exhausting Tier I.
EUC Tier III - Pays up to 13 weeks of EUC to those exhausting Tier II.
EUC Tier IV - Pays up to 6 weeks of EUC to those exhausting Tier III.
- Extended Benefits (EB) are up to 20 weeks.
(Source: Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth)