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Unemployment recipients could have to pay benefits back without legislative action

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Governor Whitmer and Michigan unemployment experts are are raising concerns about coverage for thousands of workers now that the governor’s emergency powers have been struck down. After her powers were struck down Governor Whitmer warned the move could lead to over 800-thousand state residents losing unemployment benefits. The governor expanded who could receive unemployment benefits under an executive order.

Rachael Kohl is the Director of the Workers Rights Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. She says if the expanded coverage isn’t approved by the legislature, some recipients may end up needing to pay back their benefits.

“There are all these questions that turn it frankly into a mess. That’s not even to mention the fact that the poor unemployment insurance agency right now. If they have to review again all these 2.5 million claims to figure out if they were entitled by executive order or not that’s huge.”

The Republican-led legislature has shown an interest in moving bills forward to protect those who received benefits under the governor’s executive order.

Bills expanding unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis have passed out of the Senate and are waiting to be taken up by the House.