Governor Announces Increased & Expanded Unemployment Benefits

Workers impacted by the coronavirus COVID-19 are getting a dose of good news from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer this morning as she has announced new increased and expanded unemployment programs for those workers.

The governor, under the federal CARES Act, has signed an agreement between Michigan and the U.S. Dept. of Labor to implement Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Compensation programs that grant benefits to workers who do not already qualify for state unemployment benefits. Workers include self-employed, 1099-independent contractors, gig, and low-wage workers who can no longer work because of the pandemic. The agreement also increases weekly benefits for all unemployed workers by $600 a week for up to four months and extends benefit payments from 26 to 39 weeks.

Whitmer says, “The State of Michigan is dedicated to implementing measures to protect the health of all our residents and we understand financial health is critical as we meet this challenge together,” and adds, “This increase and expansion of unemployment benefits will provide a measure of security for Michigan working families who lost their income due to the pandemic. We are committed to ensuring emergency financial relief for unemployed residents who continue to stay home and stay safe.”

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) will provide additional guidance regarding eligibility and application details in the coming days as it implements these new programs.

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Under the CARES Act, individuals who are not already eligible for Michigan’s unemployment programs will now be provided a set amount of $600 a week for up to four months on top of the state benefit. Benefits are available for up to 39 weeks. These newly eligible individuals include self-employed workers, independent contractors, low-wage workers and those with a limited work history.

Under the CARES Act, weekly benefits for all unemployed workers will be increased by a set amount of $600 a week for up to four months. This applies to workers already in the unemployment system and eligible employees about to apply. These workers do not need to reapply and those about to apply do not need to take additional steps and should file as usual. If a worker’s application has previously been denied by the UIA in the past three weeks there is no need for them to reapply at this time. They will be notified by the agency with any additional action that may need to be taken.

Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio says, “We appreciate the patience Michigan residents have shown with the unemployment system over the last few weeks as we continue to provide emergency financial assistance during this historical demand,” and adds, “I want to assure every eligible worker in our state who needs to apply for unemployment benefits that they will receive them.”

Donofrio says, “We continue to urge workers to apply online at Michigan.gov/UIA and to utilize our new filing schedule based on their last name. UIA staff is working as hard and fast as they can to process claims and we continue to reallocate resources and upgrade technology to serve our customers.”

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.

New Filing Schedule:

Online Filing Schedule – Michigan.gov/UIA. Workers are encouraged to go online during off-peak times between 8PM-8AM

  • Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to file claims on Mondays, Wednesdays, 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.

For more information click this link: http://Michigan.gov/UIA

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.