I’ve heard from many friends, family, and listeners that they aren’t going to be accepting any unemployment because they don’t need it.  At first glance, that might look like an honorable thing to do, but if you look at the bigger picture, you might change your mind.

For most people who are refusing to apply for unemployment, it’s because you honestly just don’t need it and that’s fine to say.  But, you need to keep in mind that you are still entitled to that money even if you can still afford to pay all of your bills.  The money isn’t just intended for people who are struggling to make ends meet.  At least not with the current pandemic causing hundreds of thousands of workers to lose their jobs in Michigan.  The money is intended to help the economy continue to function while people are stuck at home and not working.

If we weren't in a pandemic and we weren't seeing job loss in the tens of millions, then maybe I'd say don't take the unemployment if you don't need it.  But since we are, you should really be taking all the help you can get because who knows if your job will return or what it will look like when things do get back to normal.  You might not need the money now, but you might need it down the road.  And if that hasn't convinced you to take the money yet, maybe you can take the money and do some good with it.

Here are some things you can do with the money if you truly don't need it.

  • Donate to a local food bank
  • Donate to a COVID-19 relief fund
  • Use the money to purchase PPE equipment for frontline workers
  • Start or add to a college fund for you children
  • Purchase things from local businesses
  • Buy gift cards or carryout meals from local restaurants
  • Give the money to delivery people as tips
  • Put it in your bank account for when you actually might need it

In the case of the unemployment you are receiving from the Michigan government, the money has already been set aside, so we don't have to pay this back down the road.  People and businesses will continue to get taxed like they always have and the money will continue to flow into the Unemployment Trust Fund set up by the state.

The benefits are paid from the Unemployment Trust Fund which is administered in Michigan by the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) of the Department of Talent & Economic Development. The Unemployment Trust Fund is derived from state unemployment taxes or reimbursements paid by employers. [Source: Michigan.gov]

And in the case of the federal unemployment money you are receiving in addition to the state check, it's better that the average American citizen ends up with that money rather than it being lost to fraud.

If you don't want your share of the $600 a week provided by the government to end up in the wrong hands and be used by the state for something you don't want, or to be embezzled by someone working in the government, then you need to take it and do with it what you think is best.

And don't worry about the money running out and you possibly taking someone's check if they needed it more, there is more than enough to go around and there will continue to be for at least the remainder of the year.  Everyone who needs the money, will be able to get it.