Self-employed, gig workers can claim unemployment benefits 

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    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday announced new programs for workers affected by COVID-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus.

    The governor, under the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act President Trump signed last week, inked an agreement between Michigan and the U.S. Department of Labor to implement Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Compensation programs. They grant benefits to workers who don’t already qualify for state unemployment benefits, like people who’re self-employed, 1099-independent contractors, gig and low-wage workers.

    Under the CARES Act, workers who weren’t already eligible for Michigan’s unemployment programs will now be provided a set amount of $600 a week for up to four months on top of the state benefits. Benefits are available for up to 39 weeks.

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

    This applies to workers already in the unemployment system and eligible employees about to apply. If a worker’s application had previously been denied by the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) in the past three weeks, they don’t need to reapply. Instead, they’ll be notified by the UIA with any additional action that may need to be taken.

    As previously reported by the Advance, the UIA also announced a new schedule that went into effect on Sunday to help people apply for benefits.

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    “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,” said Whitmer. 

    “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.”

    Madeline Ciak
    Madeline Ciak is a former Michigan Advance reporter. She’s a University of Michigan-Flint graduate and previously worked as a digital media manager at NBC25/FOX66 in Flint and a weekend producer at ABC12.