It’s more than $300 boosts and tax-free income. For these out-of-work Michigan women, Biden’s plan is peace of mind.
MICHIGAN—Early in the pandemic, Annie Roseman* lost her job.
Roseman was able to find short-term work relatively quickly, but that ended in December, leaving her adrift in Michigan’s badly-broken unemployment system.
President Biden’s COVID relief plan extending unemployment benefits by $300 a week is aimed at helping families just like hers.
“I called the [unemployment] office once a week,” Roseman told The ‘Gander. “After waiting about 45 to an hour, I’ll get somebody. Basically they’ll look at my claim, say ‘oh yes we are missing…’ and now they’re asking to have my license, they have my social security card, they have my payroll check. They’ll say something like ‘this week we need a picture of you holding your license.’ A selfie.”
Roseman’s journey to keep stable income during the pandemic is one Michigan feels throughout its economy. In fact, the unemployment system in Michigan was stressed to a breaking point early in the pandemic and still staggers under the load of out-of-work Michiganders in need.
While Michigan struggles to right the ship at it’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), COVID relief from President Biden is a lifeline for those out-of-work. This plan gives those struggling with stable work more unemployment benefits each week and a tax break on the first $10,000 earned in 2020, adding even more relief to families and money in their pockets.
Katie Carls navigated the unemployment system in Michigan last summer when her small business, Marvelous Maids, had to shut down due to the pandemic. Once she started receiving relief, the money that came in ordinarily would’ve needed to be taxed this year as if it had been income from her work. Thanks to the latest relief bill, Carls doesn’t have to worry as much about that.
Carls, too, almost missed out on enhancements to unemployment during the pandemic because of a similar need to extend that support that happened last July. Thanks to Michigan’s work to bridge the gaps in the national program supporting unemployment, though, Carls didn’t miss out. The COVID relief package passed this March would have the same impact on Roseman.
For Michigan moms like Roseman and Carls, that’s critical. Not just because she’s had struggles with UIA, but because she was a short-term worker. It isn’t especially uncommon for seasonal hires to end after the December holidays, and some shrinking of the economy at the start of a calendar year is generally to be expected, but for that to happen amid a global pandemic is especially hard.
Resurging COVID cases and winter weather added to the normal economic trends and created a pinch in early 2021 that slowed recovery. And even as Michigan continues to engage it’s economy, it’s unemployment rate remains well above where it was before the pandemic began. Taken together, that is a recipe for a lot of Michiganders like Roseman.
By extending support through September, people in Roseman’s position can be confident that they’ll follow in Carls’ footsteps, so long as they continue to persevere and keep calling Michigan’s unemployment offices. The COVID relief package has lifted some of the time pressures from that process.
So Roseman, and people like her, should keep applying.
*Editor’s note: We’ve changed this source’s name to protect her privacy.