Unemployment Insurance (UI) is handled by The Department of Talent and Economic Development in the state of Michigan. The department offers monetary benefits to those who have lost jobs through no fault of their own.
The department also offers various other services to make the claimants of the UI benefits more competent and help them get jobs easily. The following information will help you understand the criteria for eligibility, how to apply, how much benefits you may approximately receive and other information that you will need to know throughout the times you receive unemployment benefits.
Eligibility To Apply for UI Benefits in Michigan
To be eligible for unemployment benefits in Michigan, you are expected to meet monetary, work separation and job search requirements to gain and maintain eligibility for unemployment benefits.
To gain monetary eligibility for unemployment benefits in Michigan, you must make sure that you have enough wages in your base period. The state of Michigan evaluates your monetary eligibility using one of the two types of base period calculations – Standard Base Period and Alternative Base Period.
The Department of Talent and Economic Development first looks into the wages you have earned in your Standard Base Period. This period consists of four calendar quarters, and the wages earned in the first four of the last five calendar quarters will be considered for eligibility.
The following criteria must be fulfilled to be considered eligible:
You must have received wages in at least two calendar quarters in the Standard Base Period
In your quarter you earned your highest wages in the base period, you earned at least $3,598
The total base period wages must be at least 1.5 times more than the wages earned in the highest earning quarter
If you fail to meet the criteria through the standard base period calculations, the department will automatically look into the Alternative Base Period. As per the Alternative Base Period, wages earned in the last four calendar quarters will be considered for determining eligibility.
The state of Michigan offers a third option to those who do not have the wages to qualify in the Standard Base Period or in the Alternative Period, called the Alternative Earnings Qualifier. As per this:
You must have wages in at least two calendar quarters in the base period
The wages earned in the highest earning quarter must be at least 20 times the State Average Weekly Wage
The Weekly Benefit Amount (WBA), or the amount you may receive if you qualify for the unemployment benefits, is determined by the quarterly wages. The maximum WBA that an applicant can earn in Michigan is $362.
The benefit period or the number of weeks you would receive the monetary benefits is also based on the wages earned in the base period. To determine the benefit period, your total base period wages are multiplied by 43 percent and are divided by your WBA. The maximum number of weeks one may be eligible for is 20 weeks and the minimum is for 14 weeks.
The reason for your separation from your previous organization is crucial to determine your eligibility for unemployment benefits. There are certain preconditions that you must satisfy to gain eligibility for unemployment benefits in Michigan. They include:
You must have lost the job due to no fault of your own
You were asked to leave from your organization or your working hours were shortened in your place of work due to lack of work
The reason for your separation should not be your involvement in any criminal activities
You were not fired due to reasons such as misconduct or drug abuse
The Department of Talent and Economic Development will conduct a background check on this by consulting your previous employer. If the reason for the separation given by your employer does not match with your reason, you may not gain eligibility for unemployment benefits.
Find out if your job separation reason is valid and if you’re eligible for benefits using the eligibility calculator below.
The responsibility of maintaining eligibility does not end with claiming for benefits. You must maintain eligibility throughout the benefit period. If at any point, you become ineligible during the benefits weeks, the Department will not issue your benefit amount.
To make sure that you maintain eligibility through the benefit period, you must follow the below mentioned points:
You must be able to work throughout the benefit period
You must be available to work throughout the benefit period
You must be actively pursuing jobs
You must report at least two search contacts made every week
After collecting 50 percent of the entitled benefits, you must apply for and accept any work that is suitable
You must be reporting for benefits as directed by the agency
In order to file a claim for benefits, you must submit the following documents:
There are a number of options to file for unemployment benefits in Michigan, such as:
You can log in to Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) to apply for benefits online. The online portal is accessible 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You can register as a new user if you are filing for the first time, or can log in using your ID and password if you’re returning to apply for weekly benefits.
Call Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Customer Line to file unemployed benefits by dialing 1-866-500-0017. If you suffer from hearing impairment, dial the TYY line 1-866-366-0004 to receive Unemployment Insurance services.
You can reach the customer line from Monday to Friday, from 8 AM to 4:30 PM. You can also get help in Spanish by selecting Spanish as your preferred language.
The state of Michigan also allows you to file claims through the Michigan Automated Response Voice Interactive Network (MARVIN). Dial 1-866-638-3993 to claim for weekly benefits.
How To File Weekly Claims
Connect with The Department of Talent and Economic Development through either MARVIN or MiWAM to collect your weekly benefit amount.
You must use the Michigan Identification Number (MIN) for security and privacy reasons every time you try to obtain Unemployment Insurance services. The MIN number can be found on most letters mailed or e-mailed to you by the department, and this will be linked to all your UI documents.
The calculation of weekly benefit amount takes in various components into consideration. You can now find out what your weekly benefit amount is using the benefits calculator.
Find out the approximate weekly benefit amount you may receive using the calculator below:
Disclaimer: The estimates are good in faith and accuracy is not guaranteed. We are not liable for any loss and damages caused by using the tools on our website. This calculator is here to assist you in evaluating what you might obtain if you are entitled to receive benefits. We make no promises that the sum you receive will be equal to what the calculator illustrates.
You must be aware of various responsibilities, opportunities, and prohibitions that are applicable even after filing the application for weekly benefits. This will help you to make full use of all the services provided by the state of Michigan, without breaking any rules.
Overpayments And Frauds
An overpayment occurs when you are paid an excessive benefit amount, more than what you are is entitled to. It occurs due to a variety of reasons, such as:
You made a mistake while certifying for benefits
You were not able or available for work during one of the benefits weeks, or throughout the period, or you have willfully given false information, withheld important information, or misrepresented important information while filing for benefits
You received benefits while an appeal was in motion, and later, the issued judgment decided that the total benefit amount paid was in excess
If it’s found that you have received an overpayment, the concerned department will send you a letter notifying about the overpayment and process of repayment. You must immediately call the concerned authorities on 1-800-638-6372 if you are currently employed but were overpaid.
The state of Michigan takes cases of Fraud seriously. Detecting and prosecuting cases of fraud is seen as a priority by the state’s UI program. A regular audit is conducted to ensure that the benefits are given out ap the state and federal law.
Some of the instances, which could be considered as fraud, that you should avoid are:
Finding a part-time job and beginning work while still collecting benefits without reporting about your earnings to the UI department
You were either not able to work or were not available for work but collected the UI benefits
You gave wrong information about the weekly work search efforts
You forged documents to mislead the department that you were eligible for UI benefits
You allowed someone other than yourself to complete your bi-weekly certifications
You let somebody else other than yourself to report on MiWAM or MARVIN for UI benefits
If it’s found that you were involved in fraud, you may be subjected to the following:
You will have to pay back 1.5 times the excessive benefit amount received
You may not receive the benefit amount for the remainder of your benefit period
You could face criminal prosecution
In the event you are prosecuted, you will have to pay the court fees and fines, face jail time or perform community service, or any combination of these
There are no state or federal government funded benefit extension programs active in Michigan. No alternative exists to collect benefits after the end of the stipulated benefit period.
Job Training Assistance
The state of Michigan runs a program called ‘No Worker Left Behind’ (NWLB), which aims to help workers acquire the skills necessary to succeed in the present global scenario. The state defines the vision of the program as the following:
Accelerate worker transitions through learning
Support the employers and economic development of the state of Michigan
Make use of existing training resources
The NWLB offers some important services to help you in finding new avenues for your careers, such as:
Under this program, you can claim free tuition at any Michigan community college, university, or any other approved training programs
Skill assessment given by the Michigan Works! Agencies (MWA)
The MWAs will assist the applicants who pass out of the colleges to find placements
The MWAs will help the participants identify high demand occupation in the region
If you have any queries that you want to directly take up with the personnel of The Department of Talent and Economic Development, you can reach them either by telephone calls or visit the local offices.
The list below contains the important phone numbers you may need during your benefit period in Michigan:
Q. Can a pregnant woman placed on a leave of absence collect unemployment benefits?
If you are placed on a mandatory maternity leave of absence, you will not be denied unemployment benefits while on the leave as long as you remain able to work during the leave.
However, if you requested to be placed on a maternity leave of absence, you will not be considered "unemployed" during the leave and therefore will not be entitled to unemployment benefits during the leave.
Q. Will I be eligible to receive unemployment benefits if I am a temporary or probationary employee?
Wages paid to a temporary or probationary employee will be considered as the same as wages paid to a permanent employee for unemployment benefits purposes. They can be used to establish a claim if:
the temporary employee files a claim for benefits,
the wages from the temporary or short-term employment fall in the base period,
the claimant has enough total base period wages to establish a claim, and
The claimant worked in covered employment under the law.
If these conditions are met, the employer will be charged a percentage of the benefits proportional to the claimant's earnings with that employer during the base period.
Q. Where can I get help if I still have questions?
If you have a question or problem with your claim, you can call on the filed-claims number using a touch-tone telephone and inquire about your claim at 1-866-500-0017. The inquiry option is available weekdays between 7:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
You can also visit the Problem Resolution Offices for answers to your questions or help to resolve problems with your claim. The office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Q. I don't remember my username or password. What should I do?
If you don’t have your User Name, please visit the MIWAM home page, select “Forgot your Username?” to receive your username in your email. Enter your email address, Employer Account Number, and answer to your secret question. Click the ‘Email my Username” button and your username will be emailed to you.
If you don’t have your Password access the MiWAM Login screen. Click on “Forgot your Password?” and follow the prompts to reset your password. You will receive instructions in your email to reset your password.
If you are locked out of your account, please contact the Office of Employer Ombudsman (OEO) at 855-484-2636 or MiWAM Support at 313 456 2188 to have your account unlocked.
Q. It's been over 10 days and I haven't received an Authorization Code. What do I do now?
Go to the MiWAM Homepage and select the Lost/Never Received Authorization Code Link. Enter your email address and UI employer number (including the three trailing zeroes) And “Request Authorization Letter”
If it has been at least 10 business days, the Request Authorization Letter Confirmation window will appear with a confirmation number.
Q. What is MARVIN?
MARVIN or "Michigan's Automated Response Voice Interactive Network" is an automated computer system that lets people who are collecting unemployment report (or "certify") to UIA by using touch-tone telephones. When you file for unemployment, you will get instructions about how to "talk" with MARVIN.
Q. What are the penalties for collecting unemployment benefits fraudulently?
Your benefit year may be terminated and any remaining rights to benefits canceled.
For all (re)determinations, decisions and orders of intentional misrepresentation issued on or after July 1, 2018, the penalty assessed is 1 times the amount obtained for the first offense, 1.5 times the amount obtained the second offense and 4 times the amount obtained for cases involving identity theft.
For determinations issued prior July 1, 2018, and redeterminations of determinations issued prior to July 1, 2018, the fraud penalties will continue to be 2 times the overpayment if the amount obtained was less than $500.00 and 4 times the overpayment if the obtained amount was $500.00 or more.
Q. Where or whom do I contact to report a fraudulent claim?
To report a company or employee for committing UI fraud, contact one of the following:
Report fraud online at www.michigan.gov/uia and select the “Report Fraud” or “Report Identity Theft”.
Call the UI Fraud Hotline at 1-855-842-7463
Complete the Statement of Identity Theft (Form 6349) found on UI web page in the “What’s New Section.” You may submit the form in person at a Problem Resolution Office, by mail at Unemployment Insurance, PO Box 169, Grand Rapids, MI 49501, or by fax at 517-636-0427.
Q. What collection methods are used to recover benefit payments?
The claimants will have the following options to repay the outstanding debts:
Voluntary Wage Assignment (allows UI to receive 15% of your gross pay for repayment).
Intercept your federal income tax refund through the United States Department of Treasury.
Intercept your state income tax refund through the Michigan Department of Treasury.
Administrative garnishment without obtaining a court order (25% of your disposable pay).
Withhold future unemployment benefits to pay the debt.
Take legal action in the courts to collect the debt.