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FLINT — Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05), Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, is encouraging eligible Michigan workers whose employment status has been affected by the coronavirus to apply for unemployment insurance benefits.
Last week, Congressman Kildee supported H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the second emergency bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. This legislation, signed into law by President Trump on March 18, 2020, included support for enhanced unemployment insurance benefits for workers impacted by coronavirus.
Unemployment insurance is based on qualifying wages and work history, which states determine. In Michigan, to qualify for unemployment insurance, a worker needs a base pay of $5,384 in total over the course of the first four of the last five quarters, earning at least $3,589 in one of the quarters. Alternatively, a worker could qualify for benefits by having wages in at least two quarters and making 20 times the state average weekly wage over the course of the base period.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has extended unemployment insurance benefits through executive order in response to the coronavirus pandemic, effective until April 14, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Unemployment benefits are extended to the following individuals:
- Workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, including those who have childcare responsibilities due to school closures, or those who are forced to care for loved ones who become ill.
- Workers who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off.
- First responders in the public health community who become ill or are quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.
Beginning March 18, 2020, Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) local offices will be closed for visits from the public, except for customers with appointments. These changes will remain effective as long as necessary for the health and safety of the public. The fastest and preferred method to file a new claim or re-open an existing claim is applying online at Michigan.gov/UIA. Individuals will need to sign into MI Login to access or create an account on the Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM). The MiWAM system is working, but may be operating slower due to the high volume of users. Individuals may also call 1-866-500-0017 to apply for benefits. If someone is hearing impaired, TTY service is available at 1-866-500-0017.
“At the federal level, I am doing everything I can to support workers and small businesses whose lives have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Congressman Kildee said. “Congress has passed legislation and Governor Gretchen Whitmer has acted swiftly to expand unemployment insurance in this time of need. My office is here to help Michiganders take full advantage of the emergency support available,” said Congressman Kildee.
A factsheet is available online to help Michigan residents navigate this process.