Michigan OK’d to give extra $300 weekly benefit to jobless


A sign marks the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency office on Plainfield Avenue NE in Grand Rapids closed. All UIA offices in the state were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. (July 26, 2020)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan was approved Friday by the federal government to provide an additional $300 weekly benefit to 910,000 unemployed residents.

The aid, which is retroactive to Aug. 1, is an addition to the state’s regular maximum payment of $362 a week. It will come after a larger supplemental $600 weekly federal benefit expired weeks ago.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said it is “good news” for people who remain out of work during the coronavirus pandemic but again called it a “short-term Band-Aid.” President Donald Trump signed an order adding the benefit after he and Congress failed to agree to a broader new pandemic relief plan.

Whitmer’s administration decided against offering a $400 supplemental benefit because it would have had to chip in $100 toward the higher amount.

It is unclear when people will start receiving the money and how long it will last. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has said the additional funding may be available for roughly five or six weeks depending on how many states participate.

“Our goal now is to work as quickly as possible to implement this new program to get people the benefits they need,” said Steve Gray, director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency.

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