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Gov. Whitmer expands unemployment benefits to self-employed, independent contractors and more

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Posted at 9:44 AM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 18:11:19-04

LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced new programs for workers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Under the federal CARES Act, Whitmer signed an agreement to implement Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Compensation programs that give benefits to those who don't qualify for state unemployment benefits.

Those include self-employed, 1099-independent contractors, gig and low-wage workers.

The agreement also increases weekly benefits for all unemployed workers by $600 a week for up to six months and extends benefit payments from 26 to 39 weeks.

“The State of Michigan is dedicated to implementing measures to protect the health of all our residents and we understand financial health is critical as we meet this challenge together,” said Whitmer. “This increase and expansion of unemployment benefits will provide a measure of security for Michigan working families who lost their income due to the pandemic. We are committed to ensuring emergency financial relief for unemployed residents who continue to stay home and stay safe.”

More information and guidance is coming soon as the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency implements new programs.

Information from the governor's office below.

Benefits Extended to Self-Employed, Low-Wage, and Other Workers Affected by COVID-19

Under the 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

Under the CARES Act, weekly benefits for all unemployed workers will be increased 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. If a worker’s application has previously been denied by the UIA in the past three weeks there is no need for them to reapply at this time. They will be notified by the agency with any additional action that may need to be taken.

“We appreciate the patience Michigan residents have shown with the unemployment system over the last few weeks as we continue to provide emergency financial assistance during this historical demand. I want to assure every eligible worker in our state who needs to apply for unemployment benefits that they will receive them,” said Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio. “We continue to urge workers to apply online at Michigan.gov/UIA and to utilize our new filing schedule based on their last name. UIA staff is working as hard and fast as they can to process claims and we continue to reallocate resources and upgrade technology to serve our customers.”

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.

New Filing Schedule:

Online Filing Schedule - Michigan.gov/UIA. Workers are encouraged to go online during off-peak times between 8PM-8AM

  • 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 8:00am – 5:00pm.
  • Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8:00am – 5:00pm.
  • Fridays (8:00am – 5:00pm) will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
The Rebound West Michigan: Resources
Arbor Financial Credit Union (sponsor) Forest View Hospital (sponsor) Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce (Michigan) Choose Michigan Farmer Relief Fund Going Pro in Michigan Grand Rapids Chamber Rapid Response Fund Local First Michigan Apprenticeships Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives Michigan Career Events Calender Michigan Career Explorer Michigan COVID-19 Mobility Solutions Grant Michigan Department of Treasury Michigan Economic Development Corporation Michigan Emergency Relief Fund nonprofit and cultural grants Michigan Labor Education and Training Michigan Northern Initiatives business loan Michigan Pathfinder student career planner Michigan PPE procurement and donation Michigan Rehabilitation Services Michigan Small Business Development Center Michigan Small Business Relief Program Michigan Strategic Fund Awardee Relief Initiative Michigan Tech Startup Stabilization Fund Michigan Training Connect Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Employee FAQs Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Employer FAQs Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Toolkit for Claimants Michigan Veterans' Employment Services Michigan Works! Association Michigan Workforce Development Michigan Youth Employment Pure Michigan Talent Connect The Right Place Urban League of West Michigan U.S. Small Business Administration Michigan District Offices West Michigan Asian American Association