Michigan Unemployment Benefits Information

Unemployment Benefits Claim Calculation in Michigan 

The federal unemployment benefits Monetary Determination for the applicant, in addition to informing the applicant whether or not they qualify for unemployment benefits, also lists the number of benefit weeks he or she is entitled to and the calculations to arrive at the weekly benefit amount granted.

To determine if the applicant has enough wages, the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) looks at the applicant’s “base period,” which is a period of four calendar quarters. For the applicant’s MI unemployment benefits claim, UIA specifically looks at the wages paid in the first four of the last five completed quarters. For the UI petitioner to have a claim, he or she must: have wages in at least two calendar quarters; in the calendar year they had the highest quarter, the wages must be at least $3,298; and in the entire four quarters of the base period, he or she must have been paid at least 1.5 times the amount of wages that paid in the high quarter.

To claim unemployment benefits, if the former worker does not have enough wages to set up a claim by using the first four calendar quarters in the base period, then the UIA looks at wages that were paid in the four most recently completed quarters (which means the UIA includes the quarter that ended immediately before the quarter the applicant filed his or her new claim). This is known as the alternate base period.

In claiming benefits for unemployment, if the UI beneficiary cannot meet the first three wage tests in either the regular base period or the alternate base period, the Michigan law permits an alternate earnings qualifier which requires candidates to satisfy two wage tests: applicants must have wages in at least two calendar quarters in the base period; and the base period wages are at least 20 times the State Average Weekly Wage (which changes every year).

The MI federal unemployment benefits claim weekly benefit amount (WBA) is determined by multiplying the claimant’s highest quarterly total of wages by 4.1 percent, adding $6 per dependent (for up to 5 dependents) and rounding down to the nearest dollar. The maximum WBA is capped at $362. As stated, these calculations will be on the applicant’s Monetary Determination.

The unemployment benefits claim number of weeks allowed is determined by multiplying the total base period wages by 43 percent, dividing that product by the WBA, and then rounding down to the nearest half week. The maximum number of weeks is 20. 

In claiming benefits for unemployment, dependents are defined as any family member who received more than half the cost of his or her support from the individual claimant for at least 90 consecutive days immediately the first week of the benefit year—or in the case of a dependent spouse or child, for the duration of the marital or parental relationship, if the relationship existed less than 90 days before the beginning of the benefit year.


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