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Common Questions about Claiming Unemployment Benefits in Michigan During COVID-19

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This post was written by Sarah Gudenau.

On March 30, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed an agreement that increases unemployment benefits for Michigan workers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak (read more about it here). Here’s what you need to know: 

Who is eligible to file for unemployment? 

  • Those who have worked in Michigan for the past 12-18+ months
  • Those who can’t work because of family responsibilities (those taking over childcare after the closure of schools and those taking care of sick loved ones)
  • Those in quarantine without paid leave
  • First responders who are sick due to COVID-19 exposure
  • Workers who are temporarily laid off
  • Self-employed workers
  • Low-wage workers 
  • Independent contractors
  • People with limited work history

When can I file?

  • Up to 28 days after the last day of work

What do I need to file?

  • Social Security number
  • Your address, phone number, and date of birth
  • Driver’s license or state ID
  • Names and addresses of employers from the past 18 months
  • Start and end dates of employment
  • Gross earnings (total income before tax deductions)
  • For non-citizens: Alien registration card and expiration date of work authorization card 

How can I claim unemployment benefits?

  • File online at www.michigan.gov
    • For people with last names beginning with letters A-L: file on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
    • For people with last names beginning with letters M-Z: file on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.
    • Saturdays are available if you miss your specific days.
  • Call 1-866-500-0017. TTY service is available for the hearing-impaired at 1-866-366-0004. 
    • For people with last names beginning with letters A-L: call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
    • For people with last names beginning with letters M-Z: call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
    • Fridays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. are available if you miss your specific days.

*Please note: The day of the week or time of day that you apply does NOT impact whether or not you will receive benefits or the amount that you will receive.* 

How much will I be paid?

  • Benefits are based off of income over the past 18 months
  • The new agreement increases benefits for all unemployed workers by $600 a week for up to four months.
    • Workers already in the unemployment system qualify; they do not need to reapply.

How will I be paid?

  • Direct deposit to your bank or credit union account
  • Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) debit card 
    • You don’t need a bank account to use the UIA debit card.
    • You can use the debit card until the money is gone.

How long can I receive benefit payments?

  • Up to 39 weeks

Additional facts and tips:

  • Work search (looking for work and applying to a minimum number of jobs each week while you collect benefits) is not required at this time.
  • Applying online for unemployment is the quickest and easiest method.
  • The website may be slow, so apply when fewer people are on it from around 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
  • Check out this Fact Sheet for more information!

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