CARES Act Extends Michigan’s Unemployment Benefits to Self-Employed, Independent Contractors, and More

by Scott McClallen


The state and the U.S. Department of Labor agreed to expand unemployment benefits to Michigan workers who previously didn’t qualify.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the agreement Monday. The benefits extension will be funded by the $2 trillion federal CARES Act President Donald Trump signed into law on Friday.

The extension includes self-employed, 1099-independent contractors, gig, and low-wage workers who can no longer work because of temporary business closures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The agreement increases weekly benefits for all unemployed workers by $600 a week for up to four months and extends benefit payments from 26 to 39 weeks.

“The State of Michigan is dedicated to implementing measures to protect the health of all our residents and we understand financial health is critical as we meet this challenge together,” Whitmer said in a news release. “This increase and expansion of unemployment benefits will provide a measure of security for Michigan working families who lost their income due to the pandemic. We are committed to ensuring emergency financial relief for unemployed residents who continue to stay home and stay safe.”

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency will provide more details in the next few days, according to a news release.

Those who’ve already applied for unemployment don’t need to apply again.

“We appreciate the patience Michigan residents have shown with the unemployment system over the last few weeks as we continue to provide emergency financial assistance during this historical demand. I want to assure every eligible worker in our state who needs to apply for unemployment benefits that they will receive them,” Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio said. “We continue to urge workers to apply online at and to utilize our new filing schedule based on their last name. UIA staff is working as hard and fast as they can to process claims and we continue to reallocate resources and upgrade technology to serve our customers.”

Claims will be back-dated to the applicant’s layoff date, and the application eligibility window has been extended from 14 to 28 days from the applicant’s layoff date.

Online filing schedule:

Workers are encouraged to apply online between 8 p.m and 8 a.m.

  • Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to file claims on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays.
  • Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to file claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
  • Saturdays: anyone who couldn’t previously file.

Call center filing schedule: Call 866-500-0017 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

  • Last names beginning with letters A-L are asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • Last names beginning with letters M-Z are asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Fridays: anyone who couldn’t previously file.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported 129,298 jobless claims in Michigan the week of March 16.

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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square.
Photo “Gov Whitmer CARES” by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.





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