It is an honor to continue to serve as your representative and thank you for the opportunity to share highlights of Lansing and District 28 happenings. I am eager to continue to work to enact policies that will help us defeat COVID-19, rebuild our economy and deliver the necessary support for our public schools to provide a world-class education to every child. Included in this enews are constituent state resources.
If you find you need additional assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and my staff. You can visit my website at stone.housedems.com for many more resources, events and recent efforts in Lansing. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office by phone at (517) 373-1772 or email at LoriStone@house.mi.gov for questions about this or any other state-level issue.
State Representative, 28th House District
In this issue:
- Protect Access to Care, Hold Insurance Companies Accountable
- Unemployment Updates
- Work Search Waivers
- Education Workforce Virtual Job Fairs
- Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
- Nearly All MI COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted
Protect Access to Care, Hold Insurance Companies Accountable
My House Democratic colleagues and I are sounding the alarm to highlight the urgent action needed to pass House Bill 4486, which will protect vulnerable residents who are in danger of losing access to life-saving care.
Starting July 1, reimbursements rates for specialized rehabilitation services will be slashed by 45%—leaving thousands of critically injured Michigan citizens without the care they paid for and need to survive.
House Democrats are calling for a cost-neutral solution to this looming crisis that requires auto insurers to reimburse providers at the same rate as they do providers in a hospital setting.
I stand for protecting vulnerable victims, and my House colleagues and I will continue to fight on behalf of accident survivors and all Michigan consumers.
The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has reintroduced a call-in schedule to assist all claimants who certify their eligibility for benefits by phone. The call-in schedule, based on the last two digits of an individual’s Social Security Number (SSN), will help ease incoming call flow and prevent extended wait times while reporting work search activity by phone.
Claimants who receive unemployment benefits are required to search for work and report at least one work search activity per week when they certify for benefits. Failure to report a work search activity will result in a loss of benefits for that week.
All claimants who certify by phone will need to call according to the schedule. Claimants who need to report their work search activity must complete the automated certification questions and remain on the line to connect with an agent to report their work search activity for each week.
Beginning Monday, June 7, 2021: UIA Customer Service line at 866-500-0017
Work Search Waivers
A waiver of the work search requirement may be granted due to certain COVID-19 related reasons. Claimants can apply for a waiver online by logging into their Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) or by calling the UIA Customer Service line at 866-500-0017. You must apply and be approved for the waiver before you certify for benefits for the bi-weekly certification period. You will be notified at the time of the request whether a waiver of the requirement is granted.
How to Apply Online for a COVID-19 Work Search Waiver
- Log in to your MiWAM account
- Under the Claimant Services tab, click on “Request a COVID-19 Work Search Waiver.
- Answer the questions and click submit.
A confirmation page will let you know if your waiver is approved or denied. If approved, the confirmation page will provide the dates of the approved waiver. A waiver may be from two weeks up to Sept. 4, 2021.
You May be Eligible for a COVID-19 Waiver if:
- The individual has a current COVID-19 diagnosis within the last 14 days.
- A member of the individual’s household has a current diagnosis of COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
- The individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
- The individual was previously diagnosed with COVID-19, and COVID-19 caused health complications that render the individual objectively unable to perform their job with or without reasonable accommodation.
- The individual is under self-isolation or self-quarantine in response to an elevated risk from COVID-19.
- Elevated risk includes, but is not limited to those who are immuno-compromised, older adults (age 65 and older), pregnant individuals, individuals with a specific disease or chronic condition such as cancer, heart disease, or lung disease, and those with specific medications or treatments like steroids, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, dialysis, stem cell, bone marrow, or organ transplant.
- A child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school, or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work.
- The individual is only exempted from the work search requirement if the school or facility care is not available 100% in person. For example, if the school provides an option between 100% in person or 100% online instruction, the individual is not eligible for the work search waiver. If the school is available through a hybrid of online and in-person instruction, the individual is eligible for the work search waiver because the school is not available 100% in person.
- The individual is unable to work because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- If you are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and you are self-employed, you are not required to apply for a waiver. A waiver will automatically be granted.
Claimants – Work Search Waiver Reminders
- Waiver requests need to be made before certifying.
- Waiver approval will indicate the time frame of the waiver (start and end date).
- The best way to apply for a waiver is via MiWAM
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
We know that many families here in Michigan still do not have access to reliable, high-speed internet. This makes learning and working in the 21st century increasingly difficult. As we have all had to rely on virtual tools to get through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to bridge the digital divide and equip Michiganders with the tools they need to succeed. These exciting federal programs will be instrumental in expanding access to crucial broadband services.
Emergency Broadband Benefit
This is a program that will provide a discount of up to $50 per month off a qualifying household’s internet bill (and up to $75 per month for households on tribal lands). In addition, some internet service providers are also providing discounts on the purchase of internet-capable devices, like laptop computers.
More than one million Americans enrolled in this program during its first week. Some of the most common ways that families qualify are:
- They participate in SNAP, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit,
- They experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and had a total household income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers,
- They received a federal Pell Grant in the current award year,
- They were approved for benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program,
- They meet the eligibility criteria for their internet service provider’s pre-existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
Visit www.GetEmergencyBroadband.org to learn more and enroll; call (833) 511-0311 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. any day of the week, or sign up directly with your internet service provider.
Broadband Infrastructure Grants Available through NTIA
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has released the rules for the Broadband Infrastructure Grant program that was created under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. This program will provide a total of $288 million in grants to public-private partnerships established to expand broadband service.
Emergency Connectivity Fund Grants Soon to Be Available through FCC
The Federal Communications Commission has released a Report and Order providing details about the Emergency Connectivity Fund created under the American Rescue Plan, which will provide $7.1 billion in grants that can support schools and libraries in providing connectivity to students, school staff and library patrons who would otherwise lack access to connected devices and high-speed internet service sufficient for remote learning.
Nearly All MI COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted
Michigan has rolled back the majority of its COVID-19 restrictions. Beginning Tuesday, June 22, masks are generally no longer required. And there are no longer restrictions on gathering sizes or capacity in a restaurant, store or another venue. Some specific restrictions will remain in place for vulnerable populations in corrections, long-term care and agriculture. More information can be found at Michigan.gov/coronavirus.
The Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which oversees workplace conditions, has also lifted many of its restrictions for workplaces other than health care settings. Organizations and businesses have the authority to put into place policies and guidelines that make sense for their operations and for the safety of their employees and customers.
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs: Frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. The information in this document will change frequently as we learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.