Big changes are ahead for Michiganders still out of work and collecting unemployment.
The changes are expected to return at the end of May, and those on unemployment will once again have to prove they’re actively looking for work. That means contacting at least two employers per week.
This is a big development that’s going to impact hundreds of thousands of Michiganders currently getting state unemployment help.
Proving you’re looking for work has previously been a requirement for state jobless benefits, but that was waived during the onset of the pandemic. Now, many are concerned it has delayed the incentive to get back into the workforce.
During a House Oversight Committee hearing on Wednesday, the head of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency said Michiganders currently getting state jobless benefits will once again need to prove they’ve contacted two employers per week.
The reinstatement of the work-search requirement comes as many businesses across the state report they’re having a hard time finding workers.
With supplemental help, Michiganders out of work can receive up to $662 per week.
Wendy Block, the vice president of business advocacy and member engagement for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, said they’re getting phone calls and emails with people desperate for workers.
The work-search requirement returning with the possibility of a silver lining – a $1,000 grant to those who do find a job.
It’s part of the $12.7 billion in proposed COVID-19 relief spending. The provision included in supplemental budget bills approved Wednesday by the Republican-led House Appropriations Committee.
If passed, the grants would be available to up to $400,000 people, almost half of those receiving jobless benefits.
The plan, according to the UIA, is to have the work-search requirement back up and running by the end of May, but it could be sooner depending on how the technology works.
The head of the state’s UIA said many of the people currently getting jobless benefits haven’t collected them before, so they’re not familiar with the job search requirement.
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