I hope this email finds you well, and that you and your family are staying safe during these uncertain times. It is important to me that I stay connected with you throughout this period, and as a way of doing so will be changing all of my coffee hours to conference calls to discuss any issues you might be having.
The next call is Saturday, April 4, at 10 a.m. Here is the information to join the call:
Dial-in number (US): (425) 436-6317
Access code: 422254#
Online meeting ID: kevinhertel
Join the online meeting: https://join.freeconferencecall.com/kevinhertel
Below, you will find more useful information about some of the measures being taken to fight COVID-19, as well as different assistance programs available to you.
State Representative, 18th House District
Expanding Unemployment Benefits
COVID-19 represents one of the greatest challenges Michigan has faced in our recent history, leaving thousands of Michigan workers displaced or out of work. We are doing everything we can to ensure that every Michigander can stay on their feet as we fight the spread of this virus. If you or anyone you know has been affected by this crisis, below you will find some helpful information about the assistance now available.
Michigan is temporarily expanding unemployment benefit eligibility to those affected by COVID-19. Benefits will be extended to:
- Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, like child care due to school closures or caring for a loved one who is ill;
- Workers who are sick, quarantined or immunocompromised, and do not have access to paid leave time or are laid off; and
- First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined.
Benefits will also be extended from 20 to 39 weeks, the application eligibility period would be increased from 14 to 28 days, and the normal in-person registration and work search requirements will be suspended.
For more information or to apply for unemployment benefits, visit Michigan.gov/UIA or call (866) 500-0017.
Benefits Extended to Self-Employed, Low-Wage, and Other Workers Affected by COVID-19
Under the recently approved federal CARES Act, individuals who are not already eligible for Michigan’s unemployment programs will now be provided a set amount of $600 a week for up to four months on top of the state benefit. Benefits are available for up to 39 weeks. These newly eligible individuals include self-employed workers, independent contractors, low-wage workers and those with a limited work history.
Benefits Increased for All Unemployed Workers
The federal CARES Act also increases weekly benefits for all unemployed workers by a set amount of $600 a week for up to four months. This applies to workers already in the unemployment system and eligible employees about to apply. These workers do not need to reapply and those about to apply do not need to take additional steps and should file as usual.
New Unemployment Filing Schedule
The number of Michigan workers displaced by this pandemic has resulted in significantly increased online and phone traffic to Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). While UIA mobilizes its entire team to respond to claims and hires additional staff to assist, they encourage workers to follow a new filing schedule to streamline the process.
Online Filing Schedule — Michigan.gov/UIA.
Workers are encouraged to go online during off-peak times between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
- Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to file claims on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.
- Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to file claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
- Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
Call Center Filing Schedule — (866) 500-0017
- Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Fridays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
The day or time of day in which a claim is filed will not impact whether a worker receives benefits or their benefit amount. Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which a claimant was laid-off or let go from their job due to COVID-19. The eligibility window to apply has also been increased from 14 to 28 days from the date of their work stoppage.
UIA appreciates the patience Michigan residents have shown with the unemployment system over the last few weeks and is committed to ensuring every eligible worker who needs to apply for unemployment benefits receives them.
State and Federal Tax Filing Extended
In light of COVID-19, both the state and federal tax filing deadlines have been extended to July 15, 2020.
I know there’s a lot going on right now for you and your family, and it’s easy for us to lose sight of anything but our most immediate needs. I urge you to take a quick moment out of your day, right now, to join me in doing our small part in building a stronger Michigan for all of us over the next ten years by filling out your 2020 Census.
Getting an accurate count of every Michigander is vital to making sure our state gets its fair share of federal funding and Congressional representation. It helps everyone from policymakers to researchers to businesses make decisions based on the best information about the people of our state.
This is the first time you can even fill out the Census online. You should have already received a letter in the mail with instructions on how to complete the questionnaire online or by phone, and it may also include a paper form you can mail in instead. One person per home should answer questions about everyone who lives there. The more households that complete the Census now, the fewer visits Census workers will have to make to fill in the gaps.
Michigan’s future is in our hands, let’s stand up and be counted!
Small Business Support
Small businesses are the backbone of our communities, and supporting them throughout this crisis is critical to the long-term success of our state. Below, you will find some useful resources to help Michigan’s small business owners overcome the unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19.
Michigan Small Business Call Center — (888) 522-0103
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s (MEDC) call center is ready to answer questions about assistance available to small businesses through existing state programs by calling (888) 522-0103.
Small Business Administration Loans
Michigan small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and nonprofits that have suffered substantial economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak can now apply for low-interest loans as part of $1 billion in funding due to the statewide Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration. The application for disaster loan assistance can be found on the Small Business Administration’s website by clicking here.
Michigan Small Business Relief Program
The Michigan Small Business Relief Program authorizes the MEDC to provide up to $20 million in support for small businesses. The funding is divided between $10 million in small business grants and $10 million in small business loans to support businesses facing drastic reductions in cash flow and the continued support of their workforce.
The $10 million in grant funding will be provided to local or nonprofit economic development organizations throughout the state to provide grants up to $10,000 each to support certain small businesses that have realized a significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 virus.
For more information visit the MEDC’s website by clicking here.
Federal Small Business Rescue Plan
The recently approved federal CARES Act includes $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants to small businesses and non-profits, allowing them to maintain their existing workforce and helping to pay for other expenses like rent, mortgages, and utilities.
The package also includes SBA emergency grants up to $10,000 for immediate operating costs, and funding to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
For more information visit the SBA’s website by clicking here.
Tax Assistance for Small Businesses
The Michigan Treasury Department is providing small businesses that have experienced disrupted operations due to the COVID-19 additional time to make their sales, use and withholding tax monthly payment. Small businesses scheduled to make these payments on March 20 can postpone filing and payment requirements until April 20. Penalties and interest penalties will be waived for 30 days. Learn more about penalties and interest online or by calling the Treasury Business Tax Call Center at (517) 636-6925.
Macomb County Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) is now accepting applications for the Michigan Small Business Relief Program it is administering on behalf of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Bolstered with up to $100,000 provided by First State Bank, the program will offer low-interest loans and grants to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 virus. Eligible businesses may apply for grants up to $10,000. Applications are due Friday, April 3. Learn more
Additional Resources for Small Businesses
The Michigan Small Business Development Center offers several resources for small business owners trying to navigate this public health crisis including loan application guidance and webinars.
- Statewide Coronavirus updates: Michigan.gov/Coronavius
- State Coronavirus Hotline: (888) 535-6136
- Macomb County Health Department COVID-19 Helpline: (586) 463-3750, open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
- Macomb County COVID Update fromEmergency Operations Center and Department of Health: Click here to view the dashboard.
- For further assistance (food, senior services, etc.), please contact the Macomb Community Action Helpline at (586) 469-6999.