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85 thousand Michiganders losing federal unemployment benefits

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A safety net for tens of thousands of unemployed Michiganders is about to disappear.

Saturday, a federal unemployment benefits program will officially end.

Since the recession began and Michigan’s chronic unemployment rate soared, state residents have been able to access federal unemployment benefits. The four tier program has provided money for people who’ve exhausted their state unemployment benefits since 2008. In some cases for more than a year.

Shaun Thomas is the Chief Operating Officer of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency.  He says 85 thousand Michiganders are receiving the federal unemployment benefits.

“But what’s going to happen with the last payment of December 29th, regardless of which tier you’re on…that’s the last week that can be payable for any tier,” says Thomas.

Federal unemployment benefits is just one of the federal programs that have been put at risk by the ongoing stalemate over the “fiscal cliff.”

Newly unemployed Michiganders will still be eligible for 20 weeks of state unemployment benefits.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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