Self-Employed, Other Newly Eligible Workers Can Apply for Unemployment On Monday

Self-employed workers who have found themselves affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to apply for unemployment benefits starting next week. The office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer has released the following statement:

Michigan’s self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers affected by COVID-19 can apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) beginning Monday, April 13 at 8AM. Under the federal CARES Act, workers on state unemployment have already begun receiving the set $600 federal weekly payment in addition to their state benefit amount. Michigan is one of the first states to begin sending the $600 payment.  

“Ensuring Michiganders have access to state and federal benefits during this pandemic is a critical part in protecting everyone’s health and safety,” Governor Whitmer said. “We will do everything we can to continue providing emergency financial assistance as quickly as possible to the Michigan working families who have lost income as a result of COVID-19.” 

Newly eligible workers who have yet to apply for unemployment benefits 

Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers can apply for federal benefits beginning Monday, April 13 at 8AM online at Michigan.gov/UIA. Online is the fastest and easiest way to access these benefits. Workers need to use the UIA’s daily filing schedule based on their last names which can be found below. For example, last names beginning with letters A-L should start filing claims Monday. 

Newly eligible workers who have been previously denied benefits

Self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers who have previously applied for unemployment benefits and have been denied should login to their MiWAM account to complete the next steps for PUA federal benefits. These steps will also be emailed to workers. They should not file a new claim, as that may delay the time it takes to get their benefits.

All newly eligible workers will need to provide proof of income to receive the maximum amount they are entitled. This could include W-2s, 1099 tax forms, and pay stubs. These workers will begin receiving federal benefits as early as April 20 after their bi-weekly certification. Individuals on paid sick leave or other paid leave – and those who have the ability to telework with pay – are not eligible for PUA.  

“We’re committed to making sure everyone who is eligible for unemployment assistance receives their benefits as quickly as possible,” Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio said. “Michigan is one of the first states to begin sending the additional $600 benefit to workers and our dedicated Unemployment Insurance Agency team is working tirelessly to provide emergency benefits during this crisis.” 

$600 federal payments for workers already receiving state benefits 

Workers already collecting state unemployment benefits have begun receiving the $600 federal set amount in addition to up to $362 they were previously eligible for. These payments are disbursed at the same time as their state benefits through direct deposit or debit card after their bi-weekly certification. 

$600 federal payments for newly eligible workers 

Eligible self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors, and low-wage workers will begin receiving their state benefit amount (paid with federal funds) and the $600 federal payment as early as April 20. 

All eligible workers will receive benefits 

The UIA assures every eligible worker in Michigan who applies for unemployment benefits that they will receive them. The UIA will be accepting claims and benefit applications back-dated to reflect the date on which the claimant was laid-off due to COVID-19, beyond the previously established 28-day period ($600 federal payment is only retroactive back to March 28).  

Historical demand  

The latest U.S. Dept of Labor report shows that since March 15, more than 800,000 Michigan workers filed for unemployment, a more than 5,000 percent increase over a three-week period. Michigan has seen a record number of claims for three consecutive weeks. 

Online filing schedule at Michigan.gov/UIA 

Customers are encouraged to use off-peak times 8 p.m. – 8 a.m. Earlier today, the UIA announced new resources to help workers resolve online technical issues with their account. 

  • Last names beginning with letters A-L: file claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
  • Last names beginning with letters M-Z: file claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
  • Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.