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Overview of Unemployment Benefits


    If you lose your job, you might be able to get unemployment benefits. Unemployment gives short-term income to those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It is administered by the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).

    About Unemployment

    Employers indirectly pay for unemployment. An employer pays unemployment taxes to the state. The amount of taxes is partly based on how many unemployment claims the employer has had against it. The taxes are put into the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Unemployment benefits are paid out of the trust fund.

    A claim is established for 52 weeks from the week you file it. This is your benefit year. You can only get 20 weeks of unemployment benefits in a benefit year. The maximum amount of unemployment is $362 a week.

    The weeks you get benefits are called benefit weeks. The number of benefit weeks you get depends on your total base period wages and your weekly benefit amount.

    Eligibility for Unemployment

    You are eligible for unemployment if all of the following are true:

    • You don’t have a job or are working part time;

    • You worked and earned wages in the past 18 months;

    • It’s not your fault you don’t have a job;

    • You can work;

    • You’re available for work; and

    • You’re actively looking for work.

    If you quit your job or were fired for misconduct at work, you may still qualify for benefits.

    You must continue to qualify for unemployment to keep getting benefits. If one of these things changes, you might not be eligible anymore.

    Qualifying for Unemployment

    The UIA decides if you qualify for benefits and how much you qualify for. To do this, the UIA looks at how much you earned during a base period. The base period is usually the first four of the last five quarters. A quarter is one three month period of the year. The UIA uses calendar quarters. Calendar quarters are:

    • January 1– March 31

    • April 1 – June 30

    • July 1 – September 30

    • October 1 – December 31

    You qualify for unemployment benefits if all of the following are true:

    • You earned wages in two of the quarters in the base period;

    • You earned at least $3,589 in one quarter; and

    • Your total wages for all four quarters is at least 1.5 times the highest amount of wages paid in any quarter.

    Applying for Unemployment

    You can apply for unemployment online or by phone. To file online, go to the File an Unemployment Claim Online website. Call 1-866-500-0017 to file by phone. You must call during your time slot. Your time slot is based on the last two digits of your social security number. You can find the schedule and other information about applying for unemployment benefits in the UIA’s Fact Sheet Claiming Unemployment Benefits in Michigan.

    You will need a lot of information when you apply. Read Applying for Unemployment Benefits to learn more.

    What happens next?

    After you file an unemployment claim, the UIA will decide if you are eligible and if you qualify for benefits.

    If you disagree with a determination, you can protest and ask the UIA to look at your claim again. For example, you might want to protest if the determination says you didn’t meet the wage requirements. Or you might want to protest if you think you deserve more benefits than it says. Read When You Disagree with a Determination from UIA (coming soon) to learn more about how to protest and appeal.

    Getting Unemployment

    If you are getting unemployment, you must do certain things to receive your payments and keep qualifying. Read Getting Unemployment Benefits: Your Rights & Responsibilities to learn more.