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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

OR

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

121 thoughts on “Michigan Unemployment Eligibility”

  1. Larry says:

    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. Sam says:

      Larry,

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

  2. Megan Puckett says:

    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. Sam says:

      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.

  3. Cassie says:

    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. Sam says:

      Cassie,

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

  4. david says:

    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. Sam says:

      David,

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

  5. Sherry says:

    If my job is being eliminated, may I collect unemployment?

    1. Sam says:

      Sherry,

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

  6. Matt says:

    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. Sam says:

      Matt,

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

  7. Mary Gamer says:

    Can an employee collect unemployment if her doctor prohibits her from working during chemo?

    1. Sam says:

      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.

  8. Susan says:

    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. Sam says:

      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.

  9. Ed Bedocs says:

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

    1. Sam says:

      Ed,

      UI benefits are only extended to those who’s laid off due to involuntary reasons.

  10. Keith says:

    I was unemployed for 6 weeks this past summer, can I file for a back dated claim?

    1. Sam says:

      Keith,

      You would not be able to file a claim retrospectively.

  11. Matt says:

    Do severance payouts impact your eligibility period for unemployment benefits?

    1. Sam says:

      Matt,

      Please wait until the severance payout ends. You can apply towards the end of it.

  12. Ted says:

    Dose my retirement money (monthly $1100.00 affect my unemployment benefits?

    1. Sam says:

      Ted,

      It will have a say. To understand the impact, please call the Unemployment Office.

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