Extra $300 Michigan unemployment payouts should reach jobless after Labor Day

unemployment line

Michigan residents who remain unemployed should see another $300 in their checks beginning next week, and the extra money should be retroactive. (Shutterstock)

Michigan residents who already are receiving unemployment benefits should see three weeks of additional $300 payments during the week of Labor Day.

Those payments will be retroactive to people with active claims as of Aug. 1, said Steve Gray, director of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency, during a hearing on Thursday before state officials.

“Most people won’t have to do anything additional to get the $300,” Gray said during the meeting of the Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The new payments represent the latest in federal lost wage assistance, after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer applied for a portion of Federal Emergency Management Agency funds dedicated to states seeking to augment unemployment benefits. That follows an additional $600 per week of federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance payments that expired at the end of July. 

The maximum unemployment benefit in Michigan is $362 per week. Someone receiving that would receive $662 per week with the new benefit. 

Those additional benefits should last up to five weeks, Gray said, due to limitations in the program. Unclear so far is whether more supplemental benefits — credited with boosting consumer spending over the summer — will be approved. 

“There’s a limited pot of money nationwide,” Gray said.

The extra funds will reach unemployed workers as the state continues to work through an unemployment system clogged by unprecedented numbers of claims amid the pandemic. Through Sept. 2, it’s paid $21.9 billion in benefits to jobless workers.

According to the state, from March 15 to Wednesday:

  • 2,599,075 claims were received, both under existing state guidelines and new federal rules that allow part-time and gig workers to apply.
  • 201,601 were ruled ineligible.
  • 186,883 have not certified
  • That leaves more than 2.2 million unique potentially eligible claims.

Of the claims, the state says, 98.1 percent were paid at least once. And 42,000 claims remain unpaid while verification continues.

Meanwhile, federal unemployment filing data released Thursday morning shows that 15,108 new claims were filed in Michigan for the week ended Aug. 29. That follows 19,997 claims that were filed the previous week.

Nationally, 881,000 new claims were filed and 29 million people were collecting jobless benefits as of mid-August.

Michigan’s unemployment insurance agency is working on closing the gap for people who have not received payments and who are waiting for review of their cases, Gray said. 

By the end of summer, the department was seeing about 2,100 new cases daily, while about 9,800 went through adjudication.

Phone calls into the system remain a problem, with about 63 percent of calls answered last week, he said.

“That’s not good enough, but a marked improvement,” he said.

Combatting some of that will be changes to the system, including updates to a clunky certification process. One possibility is allowing claimants to change an answer without calling and speaking to someone.

“There’s no reason certification can't feel more like TurboTax,” Gray said.

Meanwhile, Gray said, fraud investigations continue. A forensic audit team is reviewing cases, and three people — including two former Unemployment Insurance Agency workers  — are facing federal prosecution for a combined $3 million in fraudulent claims. 

In June, up to 400,000 cases were flagged as potentially fraudulent in Michigan, while other states confronted similar numbers.  

The U.S. Secret Service issued a national alert in May warning about unemployment fraud by an international crime ring, and the U.S. Department of Labor estimated that more than $26 billion may be paid in fraudulent unemployment benefits.

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Luis Figueroa
Sun, 09/20/2020 - 1:24am

I haven't not received my first round of benefit of $900 I'm struggling with bills,Food ect. I haven't got anything.

Capt'n Ron
Sun, 09/20/2020 - 1:54pm

Ahoy! We haven't seen any of our $300 LWA payments either (9/20). Just promises...

Sun, 09/20/2020 - 3:56pm

Glad to know I'm not the only one. I keep looking on the MiWAM site thinking maybe I have to do a form like some sites have said. But nothing shows for me to fill out. I guess I'll see what happens tomorrow when I register the past 2 weeks.

steve b
Fri, 09/25/2020 - 1:11pm

I only know of two out of about 50 people I know who have gotten the extra money.Something isn't right

Ann Vencil
Wed, 09/23/2020 - 5:52pm

I have not received my additional $300 per week for the month of August. Please advise. That is 1200! I have bills to pay.
Now I'm reading if you haven't received the additional Federal funds there may not be enough. Thought I would receive this week but it's not there in my account.

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 3:24pm

Hello , so I finally reached the UIA and spoke to someone because I haven’t received my
Money either . Well he told me that I haven’t received my money because I never answered the question in my re-cert about COVID -19 . He told me the only people with this question is people who are receiving PUA . So since I don’t get PUA and have a normal claim thru my employer that specific question doesn’t exist for me and technically I’m not eligible , his words exactly . I had to calmly tell him that he had me mistaken for another fool , and that I needed to speak with someone else . WHICH I DID !!! And come to find out they didn’t think this thru and everyone who has a PUA claim so basically anyone who didn’t work a full time job and make a certain amount of money to qualify for unemployment thru their employer or my friend who has never worked an makes no money somehow has managed to finesse the UIA into PUA benefits for 39 weeks and thousands of dollars HAVE already recieved their money. and now they have to go back an try to fix the issue and they said their working on getting it done an by next week
We should be able to go into MIWAM and certify that we do not work right now because of COVID and then we will get paid . And that’s if the money is still their . At which if it isn’t I would be so highly upset .

Sun, 09/27/2020 - 6:35pm

Hello to all my fellow Michiganders!
I just went to my MIWAM account today ahead of my re-certification, and behold the LWA certification alert was there! Clicked on it, answered (Yes) to both questions and clicked Submit. Also, I wrote down my confirmation number just in case. I also talked to a rep on Monday Sept. 21st, and the nice lady told me that all of us that qualify will be paid for the six weeks no matter what. Good Luck and Godspeed to all of you during these strange times!