Jobless urged to prepare before benefits expire

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Capital News Service 
LANSING– Unemployment benefits are expected to run out by April 2011 for as many as 11,507 people in Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties.
In Ingham County, the number who will lose benefits is estimated at 5,374. In Clinton County, it is estimated to reach 2,716. Eaton County’s number is estimated at 3,417.
Statewide, about 324,000 could run out of benefits according to the Unemployment Insurance Agency.
However, unemployed workers can still prepare for their professional and personal development before and after the benefits run out.
Brandon Weatherspoon, communication specialist at the National Association of Social Workers Michigan chapter, said people can still take steps to prepare, such as create short-term goals before their unemployment benefits run out.
“Coming up with a short-term goal and retraining themselves to re-entering the work force can help,” said Weatherspoon.
Mental preparation is important, according to Weatherspoon, especially if they are re-entering the workforce or starting something different.
“Some of the people I know are taking the opportunity to go back to school, possibly moving, but just staying focused is the biggest challenge for anybody,” he said.
Jed Magen, chair of psychiatry at Michigan State University, encourages unemployed workers to talk to others for the sake of their well-being, before or after their benefits run out.
“A common reaction to unemployment is a lot of anxiety, especially in this kind of economy,” said Magen.   “Recognize what makes you anxious or whatever and talk about that to your family or friends.”
“Do not isolate yourself,” said Magen.
Unemployed workers, who currently receive benefits, can call MARVIN (Michigan’s Automated Response Voice Interaction Network) at 866-638-3993 to see how many weeks they have left on their claim, said John Groen, communications representative at the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.
People can call for pre-recorded information to help those who have or who are about to exhaust their unemployment benefits, Groen said.
© 2010, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism. Not to be reproduced without permission.

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