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Michigan unemployment benefits available for self-employed, gig workers next week

Governor DeSantis said his top priority is ensuring the state's unemployment website can keep...
Governor DeSantis said his top priority is ensuring the state's unemployment website can keep up with the high volume of claims being filed by Floridians out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (MGN)(WJHG)
Published: Apr. 10, 2020 at 3:45 PM EDT
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(4/10/2020) - Michigan will begin accepting unemployment benefit applications from the self-employed, gig workers and independent contractors next week.

The state's Unemployment Insurance Agency will begin processing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims at 8 a.m. Monday. Funding is coming from the $2.2 trillion federal CARES Act.

Michigan also started releasing the additional $600 per week unemployment benefit to other unemployed workers this week -- one of the first states to disperse the funds.

More than 800,000 Michigan workers have applied for unemployment benefits since March 15, which represents a 5,000% increase over previous months.

“Ensuring Michiganders have access to state and federal benefits during this pandemic is a critical part in protecting everyone’s health and safety,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said.

State officials recommend self-employed workers, gig workers and independent contractors who are off the job due to coronavirus file their benefits claim online. At about 20 minutes, that is the fastest way to file.

Phone applications are available for people without access to the internet. Unemployment pay should begin arriving by April 20 for workers whose claims are approved.

The schedule for filing online is:

-- Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for anyone with a last name starting with letters A to L.

-- Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for anyone with a last name starting with letters M to Z.

-- Saturdays for anyone who could not file on one of their allotted days.

The schedule to file by phone at 1-866-500-0017 is:

-- Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone with a last name starting with letters A to L.

-- Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone with a last name starting with letters M to Z.

-- Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone who could not file on one of their allotted days.

Many self-employed workers, gig workers and independent contractors who filed unemployment claims already were denied. They should log in to their accounts again and complete the process for PUA benefits.

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency will be emailing them instructions on how to complete the process, as well. They should not file a new claim, but complete the process on their existing application.

These workers will need to provide a proof of income, which can include W-2s, 1099 tax forms and pay stubs.

“We're committed to making sure everyone who is eligible for unemployment assistance receives their benefits as quickly as possible,” said Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio.

The new $600 weekly federal unemployment benefit is coming bi-weekly at the same time as Michigan's benefit, which tops out at $362 per week. The $600 weekly benefit is retroactive to March 28.

Any self-employed workers, gig workers and independent contractors are eligible for Michigan's unemployment benefit along with the $600 federal benefit.