Michigan Unemployment Eligibility

In order to be entitled for unemployment benefits in Michigan you must meet the following requirements.

Non-Monetary Eligibility

  • 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

Monetary Eligibility

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)

Eligibility Questions

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

Want to know about how much you will receive?? —–>Calculate your benefits here

  1. If I’m placed on unpaid leave from my employer after refusing Covid vaccine due to religious reasons but denied accommodation, can I apply for unemployment during the unpaid leave? I have been seeking new employment and have a new job but it won’t start until January 3rd, 2022 and that will leave me a whole month without income.

    1. Paila,

      It depends on local laws. Please note UI benefits are only offered to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons.

  2. If I am put on furlough from a full time job and then get another temp job that pays 25% less than I was making. Am I eligible for underemployment?

  3. I am uber driver (self employed) full time. Coronavirus pandemic I try to protect myself. I did not go to work after 3/14/2020 – till to date continue. Can I file/get unemployment benefit.

    1. Zia,

      We understand this might be a difficult time for you. We’re anticipating a shortage of staff across unemployment offices due to the massive surge in UI applications considering the pandemic. We advise against calling or visiting the office, as you may not get a response instantly.

      Your state may have activated “Extended Benefits (EB)” authorized by the federal government. We recommend you apply for UI benefits online. For more information, please visit your state’s official Unemployment website.

  4. I work at Wayne State as a student monitor as do several other at risk monitors. We all are in our 60’s and 70’s. The students for the most part have all left for home and this semester is over. My question is we are not essential employees and the campus found the virus in two undisclosed location. We are required to work!! Is this in violation of the Governors edit?

  5. I work in the restaurant industry and Governor Whittmer just passed an ordinance that is temporarily closing restaurants and bars. By no fault of my own, my boss is forced to lay me off until further notice. Am I eligible for unemployment?

    1. Mindy,

      Your state may have activated “Emergency Funding” considering the Coronavirus outbreak. Please visit the website right away to learn more.

  6. My brother had to take a leave of absence due to a medical issue. He is still unable to do his job, and his employer won’t extend his leave, instead are letting him go. He could perform other jobs, just not his particular one. Can he claim unemployment?

    1. Andi,

      Unfortunately, personal reasons such as health conditions are not considered. Please ask your brother to call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  7. I have worked for a company for 6 years. Recently my hours were cut from 40 plus to 221/2. the company does not have enough business to keep me on so I am going to get laid off. Am I able to draw unemployment. If so will I get paid for full time hours or for the part time hours I have been working for the last 4 months

        1. Do I have to do a work search every week if I have a return to work date? Im going back to work by 4/1/22 and was laid off in October! I guess you would call that a seasonal worker

  8. If I start an unpaid internship/practicum after college graduation, with inconsistently scheduled days that add up to 40 hours a week, am I able to seek unemployment, if I’m unable to work due to my practicum?

    1. AJ,

      If your internship affects the prospect of fulfilling employment duties, you may not qualify. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  9. My employer reduced my hours from 40 per week to 22 per week. This was for the month of April. However, it is possible that the reduction in hours might go for a longer time. If I understand the eligibility requirements correctly I should be able to claim some unemployment benefits. If my understanding is correct when should I file?

    1. Bruce,

      That is correct. You should be eligible to claim “Partial” UI benefits for the reduction in hours. Please consider applying until full-time hours are restored.

  10. If my employer is going out of business and cuts my hours from 40 hrs to 8 hours a week am I eligible for Benefits after working there for 25 years.

    1. Larry,

      That is correct. You should be eligible to claim partial UI benefits. Please consider claiming until full hours are restored.

  11. So I was not called back by my employer of 10 years with no word of whether it was a lay off or if I was terminated. Then I applied for unemployment at the required time and was notified I qualified but I would need to answer questions on whether I was fired, quit, or layed off to still be eligible. My employer never told me I was fired and acted like I wasn’t needed at that time. I never quit and I don’t know how they would say it was misconduct on my part. I’ve been late over the years but I have had to wait at a gate that is set up for a state park that’s busy and the wait times have always veried. It has always been accepted for all employees to clock in late occasionally due to being on the property but not permitted to skip traffic in line for state booth. Not a substantial reason for termination when it’s something that’s been happening and excepted for more than 10 years I’ve worked there

    1. Megan,

      If you think the employment was terminated due to involuntary reasons (not your fault), you can claim Unemployment Insurance benefits until you find another job. Please make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute from your employer at the time of processing.

  12. The home we have been renting is now being sold and our lease is up. Because of that we have to move. Finding affordable housing here is difficult so I applied for fall classes in another city in Michigan got accepted into their LPN so I am relocating in June ahead of time to seek work. I have already been applying for work and have one interview set up for May 29th. Will I be eligible for UIA since I voluntary quit to move? The jobs prior were all voluntary quits as well but, I went right from 1 job into another no gaps.

    1. Cassie,

      You will not be eligible for unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  13. I have never been late or written up once and I was 9 minutes late and got fired after working there a year and a half can I get unemployment?

    1. David,

      The reason for letting you go sounds so unreasonable! Please call the Unemployment Office to ascertain eligibility.

    1. Sherry,

      If the position is being eliminated due to involuntary reasons, you should be able to claim until you find employment.

  14. I am a seasonal employee That will be laid off/terminated soon. I collect benefits from the VA as a disabled Veteran. Am I still eligible to collect unemployment?

    1. Matt,

      Seasonal workers do not generally qualify due to the nature of work. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

    1. Mary,

      Unemployment Insurance benefits are only extended to claimants who’re able and available for work. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state to clarify.

  15. After filing for FMLA and taking 3 days medical leave in October due to heart condition, my employer started harassing and bullying me. Then on Dec 18th I asked for the day off unpaid to take care of and spend time with my mom in the hospital because her doctor told my sister that morning her cancer had spread and there was nothing more he could do for her. My boss and HR Director denied my request and told me if I went to the hospital instead of working they would fire me. I told them I needed to go and take care of her. So they fired me. I asked for documentation but they wouldn’t give it to me. When I filed for unemployment they originally stated that I was fired due to misconduct but they have recently changed that to voluntary quit. How can they do that? I’ve filed for an appeal online. What else can I do? I don’t have enough money to pay all of my January bills and need unemployment until I get another job. Thank you.

    1. Susan,

      I can understand what you’re going through. Its now up to you to fight during the appeal. Make sure to gather all related documentation and proofs and present a strong case. Consult a lawyer if required.

  16. If I Have vacation time can my employer force me to take it before I am eligible for unemployment benefits in Michigan?

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