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Sterling Employment Law

Can I receive unemployment compensation in Michigan?

Michigan workers who lose their jobs for one reason or another need to know what must be done to receive unemployment compensation. Employers are not granting unemployment benefits as a courtesy to former workers. They are required by law to do it if the worker has met certain requirements to receive it. Unemployment insurance is handled by the state's Unemployment Insurance Agency.

When a worker seeks unemployment benefits, the UIA will examine that worker's standard base period to come to a conclusion as to whether the amount that the worker earned is sufficient to warrant receiving it. Included in this standard base period is the first four of the previous five completed calendar quarters before the claim was filed. Those who do not qualify based on the standard base period might still be able to receive benefits. The earnings in what is known as the alternate base period can lead to benefits. This includes the last four calendar quarters.

A former worker can receive benefits through the regular qualifying method or the Alternate Earnings Qualifier. With the regular method from 2009 forward, the wages must be a minimum of $2,871. The total wages for the four quarters must come to a minimum of one and one-and-one-half times the highest amount that the worker earned in any single quarter. With the AEQ, there must have been wages in a minimum of two quarters and the wages for the four quarters have to equal at least 20 times the average weekly wage for the state. As of 2013, that was $17,731.20. Those who are eligible for unemployment must not be working, available for, and seeking full-time work.

There are situations in which there is some form of employment dispute between employees and employers regarding unemployment compensation. If this is the case, it is wise to discuss the matter with an experienced attorney.

Source: Michigan.gov, "Claiming Unemployment Benefits in Michigan," accessed on Oct. 20, 2015

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