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Sterling Employment Law

Who is eligible for unemployment compensation in Michigan?

Unemployment benefits in Michigan are distributed by the state's Unemployment Insurance Agency. A person who is seeking unemployment benefits cannot be working but must be physically capable of working. An active, constant job search must also be underway. Also, the worker must register for work online at www.mitalent.org and visit a service center of the Michigan Works! Agency, unless told otherwise by a UIA representative.

Once the claim is filed the UIA will first consider the applicant's "standard base period" to determine whether the worker's wages qualify the worker for unemployment benefits. The standard base period consists of the first four of the most recent five completed calendar quarters before the applicant filed the claim.

If the applicant does not qualify using the standard base period, the UIA will consider the wages in the "alternate base period" for that applicant. That period covers the four latest complete calendar quarters before the claim was filed.

There are two ways to qualify for unemployment compensation: the "regular" qualifying method and the "alternate" earnings qualifier. Under the regular method, the applicant must have earned wages in a minimum of two months of the base period. The wages in one calendar quarter must have been $2,871 or more. Additionally, the total wages earned in the four quarters of the base period must total at least 1.5 times the highest wage earned during that base period.

Under the alternate earnings qualifier method, the applicant must have earned wages in at least two of the last four calendar quarters and the total wages in all four quarters must be at least equal to 20 times the state average weekly wage.

Source: Michigan.gov, "Eligibility Requirements," Accessed on March 3, 2015

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