Michigan Unemployment Benefits are Federally Funded Programs

The unemployment rate in Michigan continues to rise as establishments and institutions lay off workers and reduce their business activity.

This is due to the ongoing rage of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as more COVID cases are being reported in Michigan, many employees are at the risk of losing their jobs or source of income.

If you are one of those people in Michigan who just lost their jobs for reasons, not your fault, you can apply for unemployment insurance.

How Michigan Unemployment Insurance Works

Unemployment benefits are federally funded programs that focus on giving unemployed individuals temporary financial assistance until they find a new job.

You can apply for this program so long as you meet the eligibility requirements set by the Michigan state.

Eligibility

If you plan to apply for unemployment benefits in Michigan, you should meet the following eligibility requirements:

  1. Must be unemployed with reasons not his/her fault;
  2. Had recently worked in Michigan for a minimum of 12 months or more;
  3. Had reached a wage-earning that fits in the Michigan state guidelines; and
  4. Currently looking for new work.

To qualify for Michigan Unemployment Insurance, The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) will check your standard base period. The standard base period includes wages from four of five completed calendar years earlier before you filed for a claim.

Each year is divided into four quarters which are:

  • 1st quarter (January – March);
  • 2nd quarter (April – June);
  • 3rd quarter (July – September); and
  • 4th quarter (October – December).

Wage Requirements

  • Must have a minimum of one quarter that earned a minimum of 3,744 US dollars;
  • Must present wages of at least two quarters of the calendar year; and
  • Must have a total base period that equals 1.5 times your highest wage in a quarter.


If it happens that you failed to meet the wage requirements of the standard base period. There is the so-called alternate base period which includes the wages earned in the most recently completed calendar year. In other words, this includes the latest four quarters of the year that you completed.

Alternate Earnings Qualifier

There is another option that you can consider if you meet neither of the standard or alternate base periods. This is called the Alternate Earnings Qualifier or the AEQ. 

The requirements that must be met are:

  • Have wages of a minimum of two quarters; and
  • Your total wage amount from all four quarters must be 20 times the SAWW (State Average Weekly Wage).


If you want to know more details about the eligibility requirements of Michigan Unemployment Insurance, ask the local agency of the state that is responsible for administering the program.

How to Apply for Michigan Unemployment Insurance

To apply for unemployment insurance, there are two steps you can do to get started:

  • Apply online by visiting Michigan official website and using the MiWAM portal; or
  • Apply through phone by contacting this number: 1-866-500-0017.

Files to Prepare

  • Your Social Security Number;
  • Information from your previous employment (e.g., name and address of employer, earnings data, and previous employment duration); 
  • Your basic information (e.g., name, address, contact number, and birth date);
  • Driver’s license or state ID; and
  • Non-citizens alien registration and work authorization card expiration.

Getting your Weekly Claim

To get your weekly claim, you are required to report or certify that you are still currently unemployed by answering the necessary questions from the management. There are two options to report:

  • Through online by using your MiWAM account; or
  • By phone by contacting MARVIN/1-866-638-3993 (Allowed only from Mondays-Fridays from 8 AM – 4:30 PM).


Take note that your claim will be processed in 2-3 working days from the day you made your report.

Payment Options

There are two payment options for your claim. This can be either:

  • Direct Deposit – Your claim will be deposited directly to your bank account or credit union. Take note that you need to give your bank account details if you prefer this option; or
  • Using a UIA debit card.

1099 Tax Form and Unemployment Insurance Fraud

Members of the Unemployment Insurance program should take note that Unemployment benefits are taxable by both the federal and state government.

Thus, based on the latest update, Michigan UIA will issue a 1099 tax form to those individuals receiving unemployment benefits from 2020.

If you happen to receive a 1099 tax form even though you have not received any benefits from the year 2020, it is required that you report it to the management right away since it may be an indication of fraudulence.

Most Frequent Questions and Answers

You can reopen your claim by logging in to your existing MiWAM account. After logging in, check the link displayed under the Account Alert section.

If the link is not available another option would be by ticking the Claimant Services tab.

If you already have an existing claim, the information you submitted before remains in your record. You just need to make sure that the information is still up to date. You should also prepare your information about your employer and your wage earnings.

To change the payment method of your claim, just log in to your existing MiWAM account and tick the Claimant Services tab and choose the Modify Payment Method option. Take note that payment methods available are UIA debit card or direct deposit to your checking or savings account.

Also, when you choose a non-traditional bank located outside Michigan, there will be additional steps you are required to take in order to confirm your identity.

If you are a new applicant and your application has just been approved, you will receive your first claim right after your first certification. Whereas if you have reopened your account and filed for a new claim, you will receive a confirmation containing the date of your first claim.

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