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Michigan to apply for $300/week federal unemployment benefits

Ketut Subiyanto

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has directed Michigan's unemployment insurance agency to apply for federal unemployment benefits of $300 a week to boost state benefits. 

The benefit is coming from FEMA's $44 billion disaster relief fund.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order authorizing FEMA to use the funds for unemployment benefits after the U.S. Senate failed to approve the House-passed HEROs act, which would have provided $600 a week.

The Senate left Washington, D.C. last week when talk with Democratic leaders in the House on a compromise pandemic relief package broke down.

Whitmer calls the $300 weekly benefit a "short-term bandaid," and says it falls short of what's needed, but it will provide some much needed support for families struggling to pay bills.  

Once FEMA approves Michigan's request, unemployed workers won't have to do anything extra to receive the additional money.

The benefit will be retroactive to August 1st, but the funds may not arrive from the government until September.  

In Michigan, the maximum state unemployment benefit is $362 a week.  The $600 CARES Act federal supplement ran out at the end of July.

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Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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