The U.S. Dept of Labor reports that since March 15, more than 800,000 people in Michigan filed for unemployment, a more than 5,000 percent increase over that last three weeks. Michigan has seen a record number of claims for three consecutive weeks.
The current pandemic has had a significant impact on self-employed workers, gig workers, and 1099-independent contractors who now find themselves out of work. Beginning April 13, they are now eligible to file for state and federal unemployment.
The recently passed CARES Act, which approved $2 trillion in emergency funding, includes federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Under PUA, workers can receive federal weekly payments in addition to state unemployment benefits. Michigan is one of the first states to start sending out federal payments.
“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,” said Governor Whitmer.
“Ensuring Michiganders have access to state and federal benefits during this pandemic is a critical part in protecting everyone’s health and safety.”
If you are a self-employed worker, gig worker, 1099-independent contractor or low-wage worker considering filing, here’s what you need to know.
• All newly eligible workers will need to provide proof of income (W-2s, 1099 tax forms, pay stubs) to receive the maximum amount.
• If you previously applied for unemployment benefits and have been denied, login to your MiWAM account to complete the next steps. Creating a new claim delays benefits.
• Eligible workers will begin receiving their state benefit amount (paid with federal funds) and the $600 federal payment as early as April 20.
• Workers already collecting state unemployment benefits (up to $362) have begun receiving the $600 additional federal amount.
The Unemployment Insurance Agency guarantees every eligible worker who applies for unemployment benefits will receive them.
“We’re committed to making sure everyone who is eligible for unemployment assistance receives their benefits as quickly as possible,” Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio said.
Starting on April 13, online applications will be available. Considering the high demand, last names beginning with letters A-L file claims on Mondays, Wednesdays, 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.
Apply online at michigan.gov/UIA
In addition to PUA, the CARES Act also makes provision for direct stimulus payments for Americans. You can learn more about those payments by clicking HERE.
The Michigan Chronicle previously reported other COVID-19 related financial assistance services.
The city of Detroit has created a multi-million dollar small business fund. Find details HERE.
TechTown is also offering aid for small business owners. Read HERE.
Fifth Third Bank is offering deferral and fee waiving programs. Read about it HERE.
For a complete comprehensive guide of COVID-19 resources, visit https://michiganchronicle.com/category/covid-19/resources/.