Unemployment benefits will be extended through spring 2021, helping many out-of-work Michiganders. Photo via Shutterstock
Unemployment benefits will be extended through spring 2021, helping many out-of-work Michiganders.

Out-of-work Michigangers can apply for benefits lasting through spring 2021. We break down the process.

LANSING, MI—Out-of-work Michiganders are now able to apply for 59 weeks of unemployment assistance. That could help families ride out the pain of the pandemic through spring 2022z 

The coronavirus has ravaged the state’s economy and the personal finances and health of locals. 

Since March, more than 2.2 million Michigan workers have claimed almost $24 billion in unemployment benefits—that’s about $10,000, per person.

According to US Bureau of Laboswesr Statistics, the average employed Michigander would have earned more than twice that in the same time period.

And now, unemployed Michigan workers can receive benefits for over a year, as the coronavirus continues to attack local and statewide commerce.

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How it Works

Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is working with the Federal Extended Benefits program to offer an additional 20 weeks of benefits in addition to the 39 weeks (including 13 more weeks offered under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program) already allotted.

That totals 59 weeks, allowing cash-strapped residents to claim unemployment benefits into spring 2021.

Extended federal benefits begin paying out when a state’s unemployment rate stays above 8% for three or more consecutive months. 

Currently, Michigan’s unemployment is at 8.7%.

“The Extended Benefit program will provide a much-needed safety net for Michiganders who have exhausted their current benefits and are still dealing with the long-term effects of unemployment due to COVID-19,” Michigan UIA Director Steve Gray told WJRT Flint.

Both the extended federal benefits and Michigan’s state unemployment benefits system have the same requirements. Applicants must be unemployed or underemployed, available to accept work, and certify their claim every other week.

The federal extended benefits pay is currently a maximum of $362 per week—the same rate as the state.

According to the state, close to 13,000 unemployment claims in Michigan are on hold while they await evaluation.

Eligibility and Application

The UIA first looks at what is called your Standard Base Period to determine if you have enough wages to qualify for benefits. The standard base period includes the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to when you filed your claim.  

The four calendar quarters in a year are: 

  • January – March
  • April – June
  • July – September
  • October – December.

You must have at least one quarter in which you earned a minimum of $3,744.00.

  • You must have earned wages in at least two calendar quarters in the base period.
  • Your total base period wages must equal 1.5 times your highest quarter wages.

If you do not meet the wage requirements based on your standard base period, the UIA will consider your wages in the “alternate” base period, which is the four most recently completed calendar quarters.

If You’re Already Receiving Benefits

  1. Visit Michigan.gov/UIA
  2. Click “Login to MiWAM” (in the “Already Applied for Benefits” section)
  3. Certify your weeks as usual

If You Are Not Yet Receiving Benefits

  1. Visit Michigan.gov/UIA
  2. Click “File for Unemployment” (in the New to Unemployment section)
  3. Create a MiWAM account and follow the instructions on screen

For more information, visit the Michigan UIA website.

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