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Federal Unemployment Extension

Federal Unemployment Extension - Without an extension of federal unemployment benefits, beginning this week, 1,100 unemployed people a day in Michigan will stop getting unemployment checks — 168,520 by the end of April, reports the Michigan League for Human Services (MLHS).

Federal unemployment benefits expire Dec. 1. Without an extension, those who lost their jobs after June 2010 will receive only 26 weeks of unemployment benefits.

Congress may try to pass an extension of unemployment benefits later this month, but its passage is far from certain, even though Congress has never before failed to extend benefits when the nation's unemployment rate remains so high.

"These unemployment extensions are especially important to Michigan because of our high unemployment rate. If Congress prematurely ends unemployment support to tens of thousands of families and with few jobs available, it will put a terrible strain on the private and public safety nets," said Judy Putnam, MLHS communications director.

Those 168,520 people in Michigan who will lose benefits by April don't even include the "99ers" — those who have already exhausted all of the unemployment benefits available to them.

With jobs few and far between (an estimated one job for every five people), many of the jobless will turn to Michigan's public safety net, which is unprepared to meet the demand.

"The Legislature has not budgeted for any growth in public assistance known as the Family Independence Program," Putnam said. "If more families begin to qualify after losing unemployment benefits, the state will have to come up with more revenue in an already-stretched year or reduce or deny benefits to children and their families living well below the poverty line."

Lawmakers budgeted for 82,000 public assistance cases on average for fiscal year 2011. In October, the first month of the fiscal year, there were 82,560 cases, reports MLHS. Expect those numbers to rise.

Federal Unemployment Extension


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