Without Executive Orders, Unemployment Could Become A Mess, Again
There have been issues with the Michigan Unemployment system since the pandemic started. But the Governors executive orders have helped many Michiganders who are drawing unemployment benefits. One of the orders the Governor enacted, got rid of red tape with unemployment, more people were able to get benefits, and it extended the benefit length in the state's unemployment system. When the Michigan Supreme Court nullified the Governors emergency orders, this one was included. One of the main benefits of her order on unemployment was adding six weeks of added unemployment, taking it up to 26 weeks instead of 20.
Out of our 50 states in the US, 42 allow people to receive 26 weeks, making Michigan's limit one of the tightest in the country. The Governor and others are strongly urging our legislature to adopt executive order 2020-76 as law to protect the benefits of our Michigan residents. 830,000 Michigan based workers and their families could see their benefits go away in a matter of days. Senate Majority leader Mike Shirkeys office could not be reached for comment.
MLive reports Shirkey said on Saturday, “I haven’t given it much thought because I just kind of rolled my eyes when it was done under an executive order, and I haven’t paid that much close attention to it,” per Crain’s Detroit. He told Bridge Michigan, however, that the unemployment situation deserves attention from the Legislature. House Democrats have proposed four bills about unemployment, including bills that would extend state benefits back to 26 weeks and increasing the maximum weekly benefit above $362, among other things.
Many of those enjoying unemployment benefits now will lose them without the executive order. If you are unemployed because of child care requirements, you would no longer get unemployment. We are one of the few states that lists child care as a disqualifier for unemployment eligibility.
Rachel Kohl director of Workers Rights Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School says The Michigan Supreme Court ruling made Whitmer’s orders after April 30th unconstitutional. “She worries how that will affect our residents who were only eligible for the pay because of the orders.” The Unemployment Insurance Agency has not been shy in the past about demanding residents to pay back money that should not have been paid out.
“They were entitled to it at the time,” Kohl said. “So how does that work?”
Some people who were eligible for unemployment pay via the Governors orders for past weeks have not been paid yet due to complications in the UIA’s system. We are still a long way from understanding all the fallout from losing these executive orders. I am sure we will be hearing more about this in the future. Stay tuned.