Whitmer signs bill to increase weekly unemployment benefits

    Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency office, Lansing | Susan J. Demas

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill Tuesday that will grant another $300 a week in unemployment aid for Michiganders. 

    Senate Bill 745, sponsored by Senate Appropriations Chair Jim Stamas (R-Midland), appropriates $2.8 billion in supplemental funding from federal revenues awarded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    “This is good news for the thousands of Michiganders who are still without work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s still a short term band aid that falls short of what’s needed,” Whitmer said in a statement. 

    At this time, eligible claimants do not have to take any action to receive the additional unemployment benefits.

    The additional funds are only available until the federal emergency disaster relief funding made available for this program is exhausted, but the governor’s office says it is “unknown” how many weeks this will last. 

    Through the CARES Act, people that were receiving unemployment benefits were getting an extra $600 per week, however that ended July 26 when the COVID-19 relief aid through CARES expired. 

    Senate GOP emergency relief plan leaves out direct aid to states

    “We need the president, Mitch McConnell, and Congress to put partisanship aside and pass a bipartisan recovery package that will help us save lives and get people back on their feet,” Whitmer said. “Michigan families, frontline workers, and small business owners are counting on the federal government to do the right thing and work together on their behalf.”  

    The bill also includes funding for Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Illinois, which will provide a critical barrier to prevent invasive carp from entering Lake Michigan, and match funding for disaster flood cleanup in Midland and Gladwin counties, as well as funding to cover costs for flood response and mitigation efforts in the city of Detroit.

    Allison Donahue
    Allison Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.