COVID-19 represents one of the greatest challenges Michigan has faced in our recent history, leaving thousands of Michigan workers displaced or out of work. We are doing everything we can to ensure that every Michigander can stay on their feet as we fight the spread of this virus. If you or anyone you know has been affected by this crisis, below you will find some helpful information about the assistance now available.
Expanding Unemployment Benefits
Michigan is temporarily expanding unemployment benefit eligibility to those affected by COVID-19. Benefits will be extended to:
- Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, like child care due to school closures or caring for a loved one who is ill;
- Workers who are sick, quarantined or immunocompromised, and do not have access to paid leave time or are laid off; and
- First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined.
Benefits will also be extended from 20 to 39 weeks, the application eligibility period would be increased from 14 to 28 days, and the normal in-person registration and work search requirements will be suspended.
For more information or to apply for unemployment benefits, visit Michigan.gov/UIA or call (866) 500-0017.
Benefits Extended to Self-Employed, Low-Wage, and Other Workers Affected by COVID-19
Under the recently approved federal CARES Act, individuals who are not already eligible for Michigan’s unemployment programs will now be provided a set amount of $600 a week for up to four months on top of the state benefit. Benefits are available for up to 39 weeks. These newly eligible individuals include self-employed workers, independent contractors, low-wage workers and those with a limited work history.
Benefits Increased for All Unemployed Workers
The federal CARES Act also increases weekly benefits for all unemployed workers by a set amount of $600 a week for up to four months. This applies to workers already in the unemployment system and eligible employees about to apply. These workers do not need to reapply and those about to apply do not need to take additional steps and should file as usual.
New Unemployment Filing Schedule
The number of Michigan workers displaced by this pandemic has resulted in significantly increased online and phone traffic to Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). While UIA mobilizes its entire team to respond to claims and hires additional staff to assist, they encourage workers to follow a new filing schedule to streamline the process.
Online Filing Schedule — Michigan.gov/UIA.
Workers are encouraged to go online during off-peak times between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
- Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to file claims on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.
- Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to file claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
- Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
Call Center Filing Schedule — (866) 500-0017
- Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Fridays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
The day or time of day in which a claim is filed will not impact whether a worker receives benefits or their benefit amount. Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which a claimant was laid-off or let go from their job due to COVID-19. The eligibility window to apply has also been increased from 14 to 28 days from the date of their work stoppage.
UIA appreciates the patience Michigan residents have shown with the unemployment system over the last few weeks and is committed to ensuring every eligible worker who needs to apply for unemployment benefits receives them.
Water Restart Plan
The City of Detroit and Governor Whitmer announced a Coronavirus Water Restart Plan to mitigate any prospective health risks from the Coronavirus. If you do not have water service or are at risk of service interruption, call Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency at (313) 386-9727 to see if you are eligible.
Even during these unprecedented times, my staff and I are still available to assist you! Never hesitate to reach out to me at KarenWhitsett@house.mi.gov or by phone at (517) 373-6990. Since most staff is required to work remotely at this time, you may need to leave a message, but we will respond to you as quickly as possible.
For a printable fact sheet of this information, please click here.
I am currently self-quarantined due to an encounter with COVID-19, and I strongly urge you to follow the CDC guidelines and social distancing protocols. We must do everything to flatten the curve and stop the spread of this disease.
Stay home, stay safe and remember that we will get through this together.
State Representative Karen Whitsett
9th House District