Michigan Unemployment

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File for Unemployment in Michigan

In Michigan, unemployment offices are known as UIA Problem Resolution Offices. They are designed to sort out concerns you may have about unemployment. You can also file for unemployment benefits here and staff will help you through the process. While not complex, it does require following a number of steps to avoid mistakes that may delay or wrongly deny you benefits.

These offices are scattered across the state and are known under the official name of “Michigan Works!” These offices have a variety of benefits, including:

  • Telephone and computers for filing your claim
  • Staff members that are willing to help you file properly
  • Employment meetings that can educate you on important tips, such as properly filling out resumes
  • Meet-and-greet sessions with potential employers
  • Access to an online work community that presents a variety of jobs and careers to which you can apply

The hours of these offices vary, but are generally between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are closed on all state and federal holidays, including New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth Of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and others.

Here are the locations of several prominent Michigan Works! offices:

  • Alpena - 315 West Chisholm
  • Detroit - 3024 W. Grand Blvd., Suite L-385
  • Gaylord - 931 Otsego Avenue
  • Grand Rapids - 3391A Plainfield NE
  • Hancock - 110 East Quincy
  • Kalamazoo - 1601 South Burdick St.
  • Lansing - 5015 S. Cedar St.
  • Marquette - 2833 U.S. 41 West
  • Mt. Clemens - 21885 Dunham Rd., Suite 9, Clinton Twp.,
  • Muskegon - 2700 Baker St., Muskegon Heights
  • Ontonagon - 429 River St.
  • Saginaw - 4901 Towne Center Road, Suite 103
  • Sault Ste. Marie - 1118 East Easterday Ave.
  • Traverse City -1209 South Garfield Avenue, Suite C

Unemployed? We want to help.

Unemployment Application And Initial Claim Process

File Your Unemployment Application and Initial Claim Process

When you want to file a new claim at Michigan Works!, you need to use the MiWam system to create the application. This is a UIA-run site that includes an online unemployment application. Start the process by clicking on "File a New Claim" under the heading "Online Services for CLAIMANTS" at https://miwam.unemployment.state.mi.us/mip/webdoc/_/.

From there, you need to provide the necessary identification information, indicate your employment information, and follow each step to create a claim. You will need a variety of information about your past position, including your hiring date, wages, and why you were let go.

Wages can be entered on an hourly or yearly basis, while you can select from a variety of reasons for losing your job including "fired" and "laid off." You can then go more in-depth with these reasons to ensure you receive your benefits.

You can keep track of your benefits by signing into your MiWam account. This helps you keep track of your benefit amount, the weeks left in your unemployment, and any other important updates that may impact your benefits. You can also change your payment method from direct deposit to debit card and vice versa.

This account is free to set up and is typically done the day that you apply for benefits at Michigan Works!. Workers there will help you understand the process and walk you through the steps mentioned above so you can gauge the benefits you can anticipate from your MiWam account.

Documents and Information Needed During Filing

When filing for unemployment using the MiWam system, you should have the following information easily available before you begin:

  • Contact information and names of your employers over the last 18 months
  • The beginning and ending dates of each job
  • Total earnings from each employer over that 18-month period
  • Gross wages for the week that you are beginning your claim
  • Driver's license, state ID, voter registration number, military ID, or other forms that verify your identity - you only need one of these
  • Telephone number
  • Method of payment (including bank account information)
  • Social Security Number
  • Any union membership information, if applicable
  • Alien Registration Numbers and worker's permit expiration dates, if you are a non-U.S. citizen
  • Appropriate military tax forms if you served during your working period
  • W-2 or pay stub information if you are a federal employee

Although much of this information will be automatically on the MiWam system, this isn't always the case. For example, your last employer may not have registered your position or reported you as an employee. As a result, it is worth having this information available to avoid unnecessary delays in obtaining benefits.

Note: All sources of income must be reported, including tips and cash received for any side jobs outside of your position. For example, if you prepare taxes for extra cash at the beginning of the year, this money must be reported.

Claim Weekly Benefits

Benefits in Michigan are handed out on a weekly basis. The payment period consists of the Sunday and Saturday of the previous week and payment usually falls on a Friday. Any wages or money earned during that week will affect your weekly benefit. You also need to keep track of your job search process to keep your weekly benefits.

How to Claim Weekly Benefits

In Michigan, you need to verify your job search every two weeks by either logging into your account or calling MARVIN. You need to provide the contact information of the job at which you applied as well as the information of people  you can talk to about your application. Without this step, your employment benefits may be cut week-by-week or even entirely.

Claim Denials or Discrepancies

From time to time, discrepancies in unemployment (such as earning too much or too little) may occur. The U.S. Department Of Labor requires all state unemployment programs to investigate these discrepancies, with the UIA leading the way in Michigan. They have the authority to check the accounting and tax books of Michigan employers to make sure that they are following the letter of the law.

Audits are selected in two different ways: through random selection and by referral. Tax officials, such as the IRS, can make referrals, as can unemployed people if they feel discrepancies are present. These investigations will verify wages, check delinquent tax reports, and ensure that all companies are complying with tax and unemployment rulings. The contact information for the UIA’s Field Audit Section is (313) 456-2171.

Appeals Process for Denied Claims

If your unemployment claim has been denied, the UIA will send you a determination letter letting you know why.  Reasons for denying unemployment may include any of the following:

  • Failing to meet the earnings requirement
  • Quitting, not being fired or laid off, from your last job
  • Being fired due to misconduct, including failing a drug test or committing a crime
  • Refusing to look for new work and refusing a suitable job when offered one

These claims are often rather air-tight and hard to appeal, but some may be based on a misunderstanding or a mistake in your filing. In this instance, it is worth filing an appeal. The first step is to file a protest within 30 days of your denial, either by fax, mail, or the online UIA protest form. Make sure to include any documents that might help prove your case.

For example, if the UIA mistakenly believes you quit your last position due to a filing error, you could include a signed and dated statement from your former boss stating that you were let go and explaining the circumstances. It is important to also include a brief written explanation so that the appeals department fully understands your case.

If you win your appeal, you will receive retroactive benefits from the time your application should have been accepted. However, if this appeal is unsuccessful, you can file an appeal with the Michigan Administrative Hearing System. This hearing can be done in person or on the telephone.

During this hearing, a judge will review your case, including asking you personal questions, reviewing all documents, and taking evidence from your employer in case they are the ones who are attempting to deny you unemployment. Free independent advocates are available for you in these cases, should you need them. Make sure to present your evidence in a comprehensive and thoughtful manner in order to impress the judge.

Once the hearing has finished, the judge will make a decision and send it to you in the mail. If your appeal was successful, you will receive all retroactive benefits. If it was not, you can then try the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission. This group doesn't hold another hearing or take new evidence, but simply looks at your case as it was presented in the last appeal.

Winning this case allows you to receive all retroactive benefits. However, if you lose, you can always file a lawsuit in the state court against the UIA. At this point, you will likely require a costly attorney that rarely makes this type of case worth the effort. It is worth knowing that you have the option, though, should you decide to pursue it.

Office of Appeals Contact Information

Unemployment Insurance Agency

P.O. Box 124

Grand Rapids, MI 49501-0124

Fax: 517-636-0427

UIA Protect Office Mailing Address

Unemployment Insurance Agency

P.O. Box 169

Grand Rapids, MI 49501-0169

Fax: 616-356-0739