Plan could improve MI unemployment system

Michigan’s House and Senate Democrats announced a new plan yesterday in an effort to increase unemployment protections for hardworking Michiganders.

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has wreaked havoc on Michigan’s economy causing small businesses to close and millions of workers to lose their jobs in the last two months.

“We need urgent action that helps Michigan’s hardworking families and small business owners like never before,” said state Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr. (D-East Lansing). “Many workers have to count on unemployment to weather this storm and hang on in an economy that is slowly regaining its footing. At a time like this, we should be streamlining and fast tracking the resources families need not putting up barriers and obstacles.”

Michigan’s unemployment system was not prepared to handle the historic volume of claims from people who desperately need help. House and Senate Democrats today outlined a new plan that highlights several ways our outdated and broken system can be drastically improved:

    • Expand and extend Michigan’s unemployment benefits
    • Remove barriers preventing Michiganders from getting the help they need
    • Update Michigan’s unemployment policies so that they work for our residents not against them
    • Get money in the pockets of hardworking Michigander’s immediately

“For far too long, Michigan’s workers have had to jump through hoops to get the compensation they deserve, today we are saying help is on the way,” said state Sen. Adam Hollier (D-Detroit). “People across Michigan are crying out for help. That’s why we need to fix these outdated rules and burdensome requirements that are bogging down the system and adding to the woes of so many Michigan families.”

“Since this crisis began, my staff and I have been hearing the heart-wrenching stories of Michigan families finding their worlds flipped upside down by COVID-19,” said state Rep. Cynthia Neeley (D-Flint). “Every day, we receive dozens of emails and calls from displaced workers who just want someone to stop and help. Our message today is that we hear you and we see you and we’re going to make sure that no one has to walk this difficult road alone.”

“Far too many Michigan families are now finding themselves in the impossible position of not only having to worry about keeping their loved ones safe, but just keeping food on the table.” said state Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Township). “The problems with Michigan’s approach to unemployment may not have begun with COVID-19, but this pandemic has shown how far we still must go to ensure that every displaced worker has the resources and support they need, when and where they need it. These steps will help us keep Michiganders on their feet both now and long after this crisis is over.”

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