Michigan unemployment benefits would increase and expand under Democrats’ bill

The Michigan State Capitol in Lansing
The Michigan State Capitol in Lansing(WLUC)
Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 1:44 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Democrats in the Michigan House introduced a bill last week to expand and increase unemployment benefits.

State Rep. Brian Elder of Bay City introduced House Bill 6282, which would allow unemployed workers to collect more money and for longer.

If the bill is approved, the maximum weekly benefit would increase from $362 to $603 retroactive to July 25. Then the Michigan Department of Treasury would increase the maximum weekly benefit every year based on the Consumer Price Index.

Elder’s bill also would increase the maximum number of weeks workers can collect unemployment benefits from 20 to 26. That matches an order Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed in May but may end soon after the Michigan Supreme Court threw out the law she used to make the order.

The new bill would allow the state to offer an additional 26 weeks of unemployment benefits to workers during a State of Emergency if federal assistance is not available.

“I am trying to make sure that money gets into the pockets of our working people -- the very people who make our economy strong and make Michigan work,” Elder said. “It shouldn’t be a difficult choice to make sure that our people can pay their bills until we can all get back to work safely.”

Thirty-three Democrats in the House are sponsoring the bill, including Tim Sneller and Sheryl Kennedy of Genesee County.

Elder’s bill has been referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Tourism. It would have to pass there and the full House and Senate before Whitmer could sign the bill into law.

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