Claiming Benefits for Unemployment in Michigan
After an applicant files an unemployment benefits claim in MI, he or she receives a “Monetary Determination,” which explains whether he or she earned enough wages to receive unemployment benefits. A claim is established for a period of 52 weeks from the week it is filed. This one-year period is called a “benefit year.” Unless an unemployment benefits extension is available, the maximum number of weeks of federal unemployment benefits is 20 weeks. If the claimant receives all of his or her weeks of benefits before the one-year period ends, he or she must wait until the end of the benefit year before a new claim can be filed.
Applicants may collect some weeks of their MI unemployment benefits claim and then return to work. If a petitioner becomes unemployed again before his or her benefit year ends and has weeks of benefits remaining (a balance), he or she can re-open the claim or file an additional claim. If the former worker has not collected the balance by the time the benefit year ends, the balance is no longer available to them.
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.
MI filing for the weekly benefit payment
To claim unemployment benefits in Michigan, the UI petitioner can use either Michigan’s Automated Voice Interactive Network (MARVIN) or the Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM). For MARVIN, but not for MiWAM, the claimant will need a four-digit PIN.
For both MARVIN and MiWAM, the applicant must be able to work each week they claim, be available for full-time work, and be actively seeking full-time work for the weeks they claim. The appointment day for MARVIN is found by matching the applicant’s last two digits of their Social Security Number with a one-hour window between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. To claim unemployment benefits using MiWAM, the claimant can access MiWAM from 12 a.m. Monday until 11:59 p.m. Saturday of the appointment week.
MI federal unemployment benefits can be paid to the applicant by two options, direct deposit or debit card. The former employee can change his or her option at any time, but the change must be made at least three business days before he or she contacts MARVIN or MiWAM for the next payment. This change can be made online or by phone.
Flexible week federal unemployment benefits are benefits paid for a seven-day period that does not begin on a Sunday. This only happens when the applicant earns as much as, or more than, 1.5 times the WBA in each of two consecutive calendar weeks, but within those two weeks, there is a period of seven consecutive days or more in which they had no earnings. MARVIN cannot be used to claim a flexible week. An option here is for the applicant to contact a Virtual Problem Resolution Agent through the MiWAM account.