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Michigan Unemployment Eligibility

Michigan Unemployment Eligibility Calculator

eligibility_img Unemployment Eligibility Calculator Previous

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency is there to provide Michigan workers with state unemployment benefits until they find new employment. But in order to collect benefit payments, a claimant must show that they meet the requirements set forth by the Michigan unemployment agency.

Monetary eligibility requirements

 You must have earned sufficient wages in your base period to collect unemployment insurance.

What is a Base Period?

The base period is the first four complete calendar quarters out of the last five complete calendar quarters before you filed for unemployment. Claimants must have one quarter in which they earned $3,830. There must have been wages earned in at least two calendar quarters out of the four.

The total amount of wages in the base period must total 1.5 times those of your highest earning quarter.

If claimants do not meet these requirements, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity will look at something called the Alternate Base Period, which is the last four complete calendar quarters prior to the quarter in which you filed your claim.

In Michigan, there is actually a third way for the Unemployment Office to qualify you for benefits. The Alternate Earnings Qualifier will see if you earned wages in at least two calendar quarters, and if the wages earned in your highest earning quarter were at least 20 times the State Average Weekly Wage.

In 2022, the average state wage was $1,163.79. Multiplying that by 20 would yield $23,275.

Non-monetary eligibility requirements

  • Able to, willing to, and actively seeking work
  • Create a Job Seeker Profile on Pure Michigan Talent Connect
  • Meet with Michigan Works staff in person or locally
  • Conduct one approved job search activity per week
  • Terminated through no fault of your own
  • Register on MiWAM and consistently file your biweekly claim on time

Able to, willing to, and actively seeking work

To collect unemployment insurance, you must be available, able, and willing to work. That means you are physically and mentally able to perform the functions required of you at a job. If that’s not the case, you might be better suited looking into workers’ compensation in the short term, and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) in the long term. Willingness to work means you will accept any suitable job offer, any day of the week, and any shift.

The term suitable in Michigan refers to a job you are physically able to perform and have education or experience in the field. It will be a reasonable commuting distance and pay a prevailing wage. The prevailing wage is the average industry wage for such a job. In this regard, Michigan is different from states that will allow you to turn down a job if it does not meet the threshold of a certain percentage of your former salary.

You must conduct at least one job search activity per week. Michigan unemployment work search activities can include submitting a job application or resume, going to a career fair, or attending a workshop.

Two related steps to the work search are registering on the Pure Michigan Talent Connect, which can be done at You must also meet with staff virtually or in person at a MichiganWorks! Center. They will verify your job seeker profile with the unemployment office. These two steps must be done at least one business day before you file your biweekly certification.

Terminated through no fault of your own

Another significant factor of Michigan unemployment eligibility is how and why you were terminated or laid off. Although you are free to leave a job at any time, in most cases your decision to quit will not qualify you for benefits, unless it was associated with something like sexual harassment, threats, or violence. Remember to document these types of experiences in writing as soon as possible, and find witnesses if necessary, in case you need to file an appeal if your unemployment claim is denied.

Workers who are terminated through no fault of their own have been terminated for reasons other than gross negligence or willful misconduct. Violating significant company policies, either on purpose or even on accident, can be grounds for termination without access to benefits. If you feel that you are entitled to benefits, you should still apply and initiate an appeal if your Monetary Determination Notice says that you are ineligible. Even if it does, you should continue to file your weekly claim while the appeal is in progress.

Examples of quitting for “good cause”

There are some instances where an employee could quit if the reason for quitting is “attributable to the employer.” In Michigan law, the employer must first notify the employer and give them a chance to correct the behavior before quitting. In order to collect Michigan unemployment benefits, a worker must also show that a reasonable person would quit the job under similar circumstances.

Safety, threats, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, or imposition of job duties beyond your job description are good cause reasons to quit. Employers may engage in illegal practices such as asking you to clock out if business is slow, but stick around. It’s a good idea to read up on general employment law in Michigan and inform yourself.

Take note that sometimes an unscrupulous employer will attempt to complicate your ability to collect UI benefits by suggesting you resign. If you feel termination is imminent, let them make that move so you can collect your unemployment compensation.


  • Intoxicated while at work
  • Involvement in a labor dispute
  • Committing assault and battery at work
  • Three consecutive days of no call/no show
  • Absent due to conviction and imprisonment
  • Repeatedly showing up late, or not at all
  • Turning down suitable work while collecting UI benefits
  • Failure to notify your temp firm within 7 days of a job ending
  • Stealing or willfully destroying business property such as inventory or equipment

 Before applying for unemployment benefits, be sure to use the Michigan unemployment calculator. This tool will help you see the amount of potential unemployment assistance that you could be awarded. If the unemployment insurance agency awards a different amount or denies their claim entirely, you have the right to protest the decision. In the meantime, you should continue to file for benefits while their appeal works its way through the Michigan UIA system.

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.

  1. What does this “the wages are considered exempt under Section 43 of the Michigan
    Employment Security (MES) Act.” mean?

  2. 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.

    • Paila,

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

  3. I had to relocate, my house was broken into, am I eligible? The people on the unemployment line can’t give me a solid answer. I’m very concerned as it’s been six weeks and I haven’t found work here yet.

  4. 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?

  5. 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.

    • 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.

  6. 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?

  7. I am retired, receiving Soc. Sec. and a pension, but have also been working for the last three years at least part time. If I am laid off due to the coronavirus, can I file for unemployment?

  8. 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?

    • Mindy,

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

  9. 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?

    • Andi,

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

  10. 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

  11. 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?

    • AJ,

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

  12. 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?

    • 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.

  13. 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.

    • Larry,

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

  14. 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

    • 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.

  15. 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.

    • Cassie,

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

  16. 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?

    • David,

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

    • Sherry,

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

  17. 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?

    • Matt,

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

    • 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.

  18. 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.

    • 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.

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

  20. If a company at last minute decides to close the for a normal paid day near a holiday and you are forced to take vacation or forfeit your pay, are you eligible for unemployment for that day. State of Michigan.

  21. Company is having downtime for 2 weeks and only a select few are working during that time. Normal production will resume and all remaining employees will return to work following the 2 weeks. Are the ones that aren’t working those two weeks eligible for unemployment?

    • I am not sure if you will be eligible for a temp. downtime.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to inquire about eligibility under such circumstances.

  22. I have been working in my job for 22 years and was recently told that I would have to sign up for school and get an associates degree in the next 2 years to keep my job. I have to be enrolled in the next month or I will not have my job anymore. Would I be able to collect if I decide not to go to school.

    • It can be considered voluntary. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further advice before deciding.

  23. I was a seasonal (contract) worker and got hurt on the job. I had surgery to fix the problem and my contract ended in December of 2016. I am now recovering from my surgery and full recovery for me isn’t until April of this year. Can I collect unemployment? Even though I will not be able to work for another few months?

    • Unfortunately, UI benefits are only offered to those who are able and available for work.

      Since the injury was at the workplace, please explore the benefits available under Workers comp. scheme.

  24. I was a business owner of a advertising paper that had to close due to declining revenue since 2008. this was a family business shared with 2 other partners & 2 part time employees. our corporation has been in business for over 40 years and has paid in to the unemployment every year. the reason for closing was all based on the internet, more & more advertisers each year were moving there business to the internet and not print!! 1) do I qualify for unemployment? 2) do I qualify for job retraining & unemployment during the training program? thank you john

    • I am not sure if business owners will qualify for the Unemployment Insurance program.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further information.

  25. my job has located to Romulus, I live in Whitmore Lake. i moved here because i was able to walk to & from work. I couldn’t make the move to Romulus as I have no transportation. can I file?

    • You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further details in this regard.

  26. I have been employed for just over 2 months. I was fired because I was unable to keep up with the demand. I have had no formal training and was just thrown into my position. Employer was well aware of my capabilities before I was hired. What would I qualify for?
    One thing about this company is that have so much turnover that my position has not been held more than 6 months by anyone because of unrealistic demands.
    I also notified them of a surgery scheduled and that I would need a few days off. They stated that if I took more than three days off that there would be no guarantee that my job would be secured because I was under my 90 days. I then would have to work 6-7 days a week to make up days lost after surgery. Can they do that?

    • Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. However, there can be exceptions.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to clarify.

  27. I recently fell off my roof and have been placed on FMLA (Leave of Absence). I was a part time employee and I have no disability insurance. Since I am being put on FMLA can I collect unemployment insurance

    • I am sorry to hear about your case. Hope you get well soon.

      Unemployment Insurance is only extended to those who’re able and available for work. Due to your health condition, you may not qualify. Please check with the authorities.

  28. I am under the age of 60 and have worked 30 years for my employer. Our office policy states we are eligible to retire after 25 years. If I take the voluntary retirement would I be able to collect Michigan Unemployment benefits?

  29. I have worked for the same company for 11 years. I am in my senior year of college and Im required to do an internship. I have asked my employer to allow me to use any personal or vacation time I have to complete my intern. They have denied my request and now my only option is to resign. Will I be eligible to receive any unemployment benefits until I find another job?

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

  30. What would be considered a “hostile” work environment? I have been being verbally bullied for 2 months, have talked to superviors about it, who said “they would handle it” and nothing has changed.

  31. My employer has threatened to fire me because I am not performing to the standard they see fit. However, was given only an hour of training when I took the job and my supervisor works remotely and is often not available. When she is available, she has been vague with directions and seems to be avoiding meeting with me in person when she does come into the office.

    Her supervisor gets frustrated with me because of things that could have been solved if communication was better. I’ve explained this to HR and things haven’t improved. I feel like I am stuck and am obviously not appreciated for the work I do here.

    If fired, would I qualify for unemployment?

    • Well, this is a sensitive issue.

      If you’re fired, it may be considered voluntary and people who leave due to performance issues are not eligible for UI benefits. Please keep all supporting documents handy to prove it was not your fault if you’re fired.

  32. I have been consecutively employed for the last 2 years, one year at each employer. I left my first employer after 12 months to work at my current employer. I have been with my current employer for a year but they have indicted that they are laying our department off this Friday. Do I qualify for UIA benefits? I have been employed with each employer exactly 12 months with no break in employment.

    • Yes, you should be eligible as long as the reason for leaving is involuntary.

      Please consider applying until you find a new job.

  33. Currently, I am a salaried employee that typically worked 10 months out of the year. The employer recently gave us an option to spread the pay which would divide to salary over 12 months instead of 10 months. I was one that decided to take my salary this way this year. Usually I save my own money in the bank and spread the pay myself, but this year I allowed my job to use the spread the pay bank for me. Recently I received a layoff notice. My question is can I file unemployment as I will still receive the money that is already earned and would have been paid to me in 10 months had I not used the spread the pay bank option this year). The money is already earned and would have been paid to me already.

    • You can claim after the balance payout is done.

      Please confirm with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  34. i have worked at my job for 9 years and me and the manager had a few choice of words. then after the words we both went back to work i id not swear or threaten my manager but i felt like it was wrong and disrespectful for her not to pull me to the side and talk to me about the situations but instead they fronted me off in front of staff. also after the disagreement we both went back to doing our jobs. i finished my shift. the next afternoon i got a call saying i was fired from her manager nothing was put into writing i was one of there best employees and he said if it was left up to him he would not fire me but the she told the building manager that i had got out of control and no one asked me for a statement or my side of the story i have never got into any trouble on my job before and i feel like for them not to give me a pink slip and to also let me finish out my job the night before with out any write ups at all was wrong. can i collect unemployment

    • Well, this is a sensitive situation. If you feel it was not justified, please consider filing for UI benefits.

      Make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute.

  35. Michigan resident. I worked for a company for almost one-and-a-half years. They recently sold the company. I was paid through the date of the sale plus two weeks’ severance pay. A co-worker is starting a new company, asked me to join; I said yes. After only 2 weeks, the other employees quit, basically leaving us without a company – no technicians, no work! Can I apply for unemployment and who would it fall under – the long-term employer (now sold) or my recent employer of only 2 weeks.

    • You should be able to apply and claim on the basis of your long term employer.

      Please speak to the Unemployment Office in your state and apply accordingly.

  36. If I am the owner of a business and we are losing our lease and can not relocate can I collect unemployment?

    • Not sure if business owners are eligible.

      Please check with the Unemployment Office in your state by calling them.

    • Some states allow both. Please call the Unemployment Office in MI to confirm if you can be eligible for UI and apply accordingly.

  37. I had to leave my job because I didn’t pass my certification test. I think its a fire because I had to leave but I understood because I wasn’t qualified for job anymore. They told me it was my last day then called back and offered a sub position which is much less then what I was making. I refused the position and wanted to look for a job myself. By refusing the position they offered me much lower then I was making, would that disqualify me for unemployment?

  38. My employer of 5 years, I work P.T.20-24 hrs. a week, just told me my hours will be cut to 4 hr’s.a week. The job/income is not worth 4 hrs. pay a week! I desperately need the income. I work another job at 20/24 hrs. a week in make a 40 hrs. week income with no benefits. Can I quit the 4 hr. job and collect UI benefits while seek another 20/24 hrs. a week position?

    • Instead of quitting voluntarily and seeking UI benefits, please apply for partial benefits towards the reduced hours.

      If you resign voluntarily, you will not qualify.

  39. I have been working full time for my employer but I haven’t been paid in a month. The company keeps promising to pay but they have missed two consecutive payrolls now. Will I still receive benefits even though I am still working?

    • Please check with the labor authorities in your state.

      Some states do provide Unemployment Compensation for such situations.

  40. What if your company is moving an hour away from where they are at now. If I don’t go with them can I still collect unemployment?

    • If you quit based on the distance, you may not qualify.

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information.

  41. I worked for a school system for 20 years and I got hurt at work. I been out of work for over a year and dealing with a workers comp case. I was told I couldn’t claim since I have a workers comp. case still pending. SO what is the truth? I did go to manpower to see about getting another job, but due to my work restrictions no one will hire me.

  42. I am wanting to quit my job due a resident coming after me with a knife and after being in the hospital they are releasing him back. No job is worth my life. Will I be able to apply for unemployment?

    • If the work conditions are hostile, you can claim.

      Please consult the claims center of the labor dept in your and apply accordingly.

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