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Michigan Residents Who Received Coronavirus-Related Unemployment Aid Must Reapply

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — More than 600,000 Michigan residents who received pandemic-related unemployment aid are being told to update their accounts after the state learned that some reasons for eligibility approved months ago were wrong.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, states had the flexibility to interpret federal guidelines, but the U.S. Labor Department subsequently "became more prescriptive," the Unemployment Insurance Agency said Wednesday.

It's not clear if people will be forced to repay benefits.

"We're doing everything we can to help working families navigate this issue. ... The agency will evaluate each requalification on a case-by-case basis, and we are currently reviewing a waiver process," said acting director Liza Estlund Olson.

Michigan has been paying an extra $300 a week in federal aid to jobless who qualify on top of maximum state benefits of $362.

Rachael Kohl, an attorney with the Workers' Rights Clinic, said many people receiving letters are back to work.

"I'm just hoping that the agency does the right thing here," Kohl told "Because at this point, this money's been spent. And these people did nothing wrong to get it."

© 2021 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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