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MESC PREPARES TO ISSUE EMERGENCY JOBLESS BENEFITS

 MESC PREPARES TO ISSUE EMERGENCY JOBLESS BENEFITS
 DETROIT, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Jobless Michigan workers will


qualify for up to 20 weeks of additional unemployment benefits according to initial information from the U.S. Department of Labor, F. Robert Edwards, director of the Michigan Employment Security Commission (MESC), reported today.
 To qualify for the new Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program, eligible workers must be unemployed and have exhausted all of their rights to regular state or extended unemployment benefits on or after March 1, 1991, Edwards explained. The EUC program will pay benefits for weeks of unemployment between Nov. 17, 1991, and July 4, 1992.
 He pointed out, however, that in order for workers to receive the benefits they will have to maintain a written record of their job search efforts and accept any offer of suitable work.
 Edwards said that within a week his agency will begin mailing applications and information to unemployed workers who are potentially eligible for EUC benefits. The likely schedule for payments:
 -- For those currently exhausting or those who will in the future exhaust state benefits, MESC will mail them information about EUC as their benefits end. There will be no interruption in the flow of their benefit checks as they move from the state program to the EUC program.
 -- For those who have already exhausted their state benefits:
 -- Within one week MESC will mail an EUC application and
 certification form which must be returned to their local MESC
 office immediately after Nov. 23, 1991; and
 -- One week later MESC will begin issuing benefit checks and will
 complete the mailing of first checks over the following two
 weeks.
 "Those who believe they qualify for EUC but have not heard from MESC can contact their local MESC offices for EUC applications after Monday, Nov. 25," Edwards said. "If individuals have questions about the program, they can call our Customer Service Office toll-free at 1-800-638-3995."
 The first checks MESC issues will cover one week of unemployment. Subsequent checks will cover two-week periods. Edwards noted, however, there will be a reduction in EUC benefits for those who received extended jobless benefits earlier this year.
 "Workers' EUC entitlements will be reduced by one week for each week of Extended Benefits they received," he said.
 MESC estimates that some 225,000 jobless workers are expected to receive EUC benefits over the life of the program. More than 150,000 workers have already exhausted their Michigan benefits since March and may immediately qualify for the program.
 "We expect to pay out over $400 million in EUC benefits to jobless Michigan workers during the program's lifetime," Edwards predicted.
 Eligible claimants will receive the same weekly benefit amount as they did with the regular state program and for the same number of weeks up to a maximum of 20 weeks.
 The number of weeks a state qualifies to pay is based on a combination of its total unemployment rate, exhaustion rate and adjusted insured unemployment rate. Depending upon these rates, a state may qualify to pay 20, 13 or six weeks of benefits.
 "While we can initially pay up to 20 weeks of benefits," Edwards said, "that may change during the life of the program as we must re-evaluate our jobless rates after 13 weeks."
 Edwards noted that the EUC program requires jobless workers actively seek work while claiming benefits. They will need to keep a written record of their job search efforts, including:
 -- Names and addresses of employers contacted;
 -- Dates of these contacts;
 -- Method of contact;
 -- Types of jobs applied for; and
 -- Results of each contact.
 In addition, if workers do not have job offers or prospects within four weeks of filing their first EUC claims, they must accept any offer of suitable work. Suitable work is any work claimants are capable of doing, and:
 -- The gross weekly pay is more than their weekly EUC benefit rate plus any SUB pay they receive from their former employer;
 -- The offered pay is at least the federal minimum wage ($4.25/hour); and
 -- The offer is in writing or the job is listed with MESC's Job Service.
 Other provisions of the EUC legislation lift restrictions on jobless benefits for former members of the armed services. Veterans will now be eligible for 26 weeks of benefits after leaving the service, instead of 13 weeks. EUC also eliminates the four-week waiting period for veterans.
 Other provisions: repeal federal prohibitions on benefit payments to non-professional school employees between academic terms (the state law prohibition still exists, however); provide extra weeks of benefits for some unemployed railroad workers; and establish a federal advisory council on unemployment insurance.
 EUC benefits are federally funded and will not be charged to employers' unemployment tax accounts.
 -0- 11/20/91
 /CONTACT: Norman Isotalo of MESC, 313-876-5488/ CO: Michigan Employment Security Commission ST: Michigan IN: SU:


SB -- DE013 -- 5540 11/20/91 15:43 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 20, 1991
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