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How to apply for unemployment benefits in Michigan amid coronavirus crisis

unemployment line

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order extending unemployment insurance benefits to workers who are home caring for sick relatives or taking care of their children during the coronavirus pandemic.  Also, anyone losing work as a result of the crisis is advised to apply. 

Whitmer’s executive order extends unemployment benefits to workers who have an “unanticipated family care responsibility,” including child care responsibilities because of school closures. It also covers workers who are sick, quarantined or immunocompromised but do not have paid medical leave or are laid off, along with first responders who become ill or are quarantined because of the exposure to COVID-19.

Online applications are recommended because of increased call volumes in the past week, but those seeking to file a claim for benefits can also call 1-866-500-0017 to apply.

Because of the large increase in working families seeking unemployment benefits, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has developed a schedule for workers to file for benefits based on the first letter of their last name:

Online Filing Schedule - Michigan.gov/UIA

  • Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to file claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
  • Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to file claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
  • Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window. 

Call Center Filing Schedule - 866-500-0017:

  • Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between  8:00am – 5:00pm.
  • Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between  8:00am – 5:00pm.
  • Fridays (8:00am – 5:00pm) will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

To file a claim, you need:

  • Your Social Security Number, driver's license number, state identification or MARVIN PIN (if you have one)
  • If you are not a U.S. citizen or national, you will need your alien registration number and the expiration date of your work authorization.
  • Names and addresses of employers you have worked for in the past 18 months, including quarterly gross earnings and the last date of employment with each.

Your application for benefits will be evaluated to determine whether you are eligible for benefits and how much money you may receive. 

Michigan increased unemployment benefits for workers to 26 weeks on March 16 as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The day or time of day in which a claim is filed will not impact whether a worker receives benefits or their benefit amount. Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which a claimant was laid-off or let go from their job due to COVID-19. The eligibility window to apply has also been increased from 14 to 28 days from the date of their work stoppage.

The recently passed federal CARES act will extend Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Compensation to self-employed, 1099-independent contractors, gig and low-wage workers in Michigan. Guidance and information about this program will soon be available on the state of Michigan’s website.

​The state also expanded a work-share program for qualifying business that could help avoid mass layoffs by splitting the cost of employees. A participating business could scale back worker hours and ask unemployment insurance to make up the difference in lost pay.

Employers with questions about workers’ unemployment may contact Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency, Office of Employer Ombudsman at 1-855-484-2636.

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