Michigan Unemployment Eligibility
Updated : June 20th, 2019
In order to be entitled for unemployment benefits in Michigan you must meet the following requirements.
- You must be unemployed for no fault of your own
- You must be able to, available for and keenly looking for suitable full-time work
- You must also register for work within 2 to 3 business days of applying for benefits by filing your resume with the Michigan Talent Bank and by reporting to your local Michigan Works! Agency (MWA) Center, unless instructed otherwise by BW&UC staff
- You must quit your job for a good cause “attributable to the employer”
- You must not be terminated from your work for misconduct
The BW&UC (Bureau of Workers’ and Unemployment Compensation) will see your standard base period (first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to when you filed your claim) to decide if your earnings qualify you for jobless benefits.
In case you cannot qualify based on your standard base period, the bureau will verify your earnings in the “alternate” base period, which is the four most recently completed calendar quarters.
There are two ways in which your earnings may qualify you for unemployment benefits:
“Regular” qualifying method:
- One quarter in your base period must have wages of at least $1,998; and
- Total wages for all four quarters must equal at least one and a half times the highest amount of wages paid in any quarter of the base period
Alternate Earnings Qualifier (AEQ):
- You must have wages in at least two quarters; and
- Total wages for all four quarters must equal at least 20 times the state average weekly wage (SAWW)
Can I qualify for benefits if I quit?
If you quit your job without having a good cause “attributable to the employer”, then you will be “disqualified” from receiving unemployment benefits. You must then get another job and have earnings with that employer to “requalify” for benefits. But the employer from whom you quit will not be charged for the benefits, even if you requalify and draw benefits.
By law, you must show that you left the job for a reason that would cause a reasonable person, under similar conditions, to leave the job.
In some cases, a physical condition or illness prevents from continuing to work and the employer, when requested, cannot offer the worker a job within the worker’s capacity. In those cases, the quit may be classified as “involuntary” and you will not be disqualified for quitting. However, you must still be able to work at a job you are qualified to do, by past experience or training, to be eligible for benefits.
Proof of Hearing: If either the employer or the unemployed worker appeals the case to an Administrative Law Judge, the employer must first prove that the worker quit the job. The worker must then prove that the employer was at fault for the quit because of something the employer did, or allowed to happen, in the workplace.
The Unemployment Insurance Agency Advocacy Program can provide help to employers and unemployed worker in preparing for Administrative Law Judge and/or Board of Review hearings on this issue. Call 1-800-638-3994.
Can I draw benefits if I am fired?
If you are fired from a job due to misconduct that occurred in connection with the work, then you will be “disqualified” from benefits. You must then get another job and have earnings with that employer to “requalify” for benefits. But the employer from whom you were fired will not be charged for benefits, even if you requalify and draw benefits.
Example: If a worker is repeatedly absent or tardy from work, without justifiable excuse, the worker could be disqualified from obtaining benefits. If a worker is terminated based on arrest occurring on worker’s own time and not related with work, then the worker would not be disqualified.
If a worker is discharged for being unable to meet production quotas, but is otherwise a cooperative worker, that worker will possibly not be disqualified from collecting unemployment benefits.
Proof of Hearing: If either the employer or the jobless worker appeals the case to an Administrative Law Judge, then the employer must confirm that the worker engaged in misconduct and that the misconduct occurred in connection with the work. Except in the gravest offenses, the employer must also prove that the worker was aware of the employer’s work rules and that the actions of the worker were harmful to the employer.
The Unemployment Insurance Agency Advocacy Program can offer help to employers and/or jobless workers in preparing for an Administrative Law Judge hearing on this issue. Call 1-8000-638-3994.
Can I collect benefits if I am laid off?
Usually, in Michigan you have become jobless through no fault of your own in order to collect unemployment. When you get laid-off, it is not your fault.
In almost all cases, this means that if you get laid-off, you are qualified to collect unemployment benefits.
If you get laid-off from your job, you should directly apply for unemployment benefits.
Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you were fired or you did something wrong. Getting laid-off means that the company that you worked for did not have sufficient work for you to do, and could no longer afford to pay you to do your job.
Can a pregnant worker draw UI if she is placed on a leave of absence?
If a pregnant worker is placed on a obligatory maternity leave of absence she will not be denied unemployment benefits while on the leave, as long as she remains able to work during the leave.
More Questions?? —-> Read Eligibility Q & A Section