Many Michigan residents who have been out of work during the pandemic and filing for unemployment benefits are now eligible for an additional 20 weeks of benefits, the state said Thursday.

The Federal Extended Benefits (EB) program kicks in when a state’s jobless rate averages more than 8% for three consecutive months, bringing the total benefits period to 59 weeks for those impacted by COVID-19.

Once a claimant has exhausted their regular 26 weeks of benefits and the additional 13 weeks of federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits, the 20 weeks will automatically kick in, according to a news release.

It is unclear whether filers for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), self-employed workers and independent contractors who would usually not qualify for state benefits, are eligible for the extended benefit weeks.

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“The Extended Benefit program will provide a much-needed