Ask The Lawyer, When Will Unemployment Benefits Run Out?


QUESTION:  I was laid off in April, and have been receiving unemployment for almost 20 weeks, which I was told is the maximum time I can receive benefits. Until last month, I was doing OK, because I received the extra $600 every week. Now, I’m afraid my benefits will run out and I’ll have nothing. I’ve been looking for work, but there aren’t a lot of jobs out there. Are there any other programs I should look into?

ANSWER: Someone told you wrong: You still have a few more months before your benefits expire.

Back in March, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-24, which expanded the number of weeks for which eligible workers could receive unemployment benefits from 20 to 26 weeks – the Order was replaced by Executive Order 2020-76 in May, but the additional six weeks of unemployment eligibility remains.

But there’s more! The federal CARES Act, under which you received the extra $600 per month until July, provided 13 weeks of benefits to workers who had exhausted rights to state benefits. Eligible out-of-work Michigan workers can receive up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits under the Executive Order and the CARES Act, combined.

To receive the extra weeks, all you have to do is to continue to certify on your MiWAM account with the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). The maximum benefit amount, based on your pay before you were laid off, is $362 per week.

But, there may be even more coming your way. President Donald Trump signed an executive order at the beginning of August providing an additional $300 per week, for about five weeks, to unemployed workers. The funds are being redirected from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) to unemployed workers. Michigan was approved to receive the FEMA funds last week, but it may be a few weeks before the additional funds can be distributed. The money is only available to those who are currently eligible for at least $100 in unemployment compensation.

In a press release, the UIA Director, Steve Gray, instructed Michigan workers “to continue their bi-weekly certifications as they normally would.” They do not need to contact the UIA or make changes to their MiWAM accounts to receive the funds. Payments will be retroactive to August 1.

If the Senate can reach an agreement on a bill when they return from their recess next month, unemployed workers may be eligible to receive some additional assistance, but the amount and duration of such additional aid is uncertain.

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By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq
.Attorney and Counselor at Law
901 Wilshire Drive, Suite 550
Troy, MI 48084
(248) 247-3300
(248) 247-3310 facsimile
[email protected]