Here we are, day 91 of 2020, in a reality that seems stranger than fiction; not only are we being asked to stay away from people, “Tiger King” is trending on Netflix, and our kids’ dream of school being closed has come true. In this bizarre new reality, the constant uncertainty and rapidly evolving economic changes are a source of great confusion. Today, I hope to clear up a few items for everyone. I can’t tell you when you will be able to go get a drink at your favorite bar or if the best restaurant patio will be open in the next few weeks, but I can give you some details that will help clear up the news reports regarding the Stimulus payments, Federal Unemployment, and possible grants and loans for your small business to help ensure your doors are open when this is all over.
Since the stimulus is a one-time payment, it is not going to help get us through the long haul, that is where the Federal Unemployment kicks in. Currently, in the State of Michigan, the maximum unemployment benefit is $362 per week. The benefit is calculated by taking your highest quarter of earnings during the previous month and multiplying that amount by 4.1%.
For example, if you make $15 per hour and consistently work 40 hours per week, your quarterly wages would equal $7,800; 4.1% of that gives you a weekly benefit of $320. There are additional amounts available when you are supporting other dependents, but you still will not get over the $362 per week. While this is a great benefit for those who are transitioning from one job to the next, it is not nearly enough to live on when the job prospects start to dwindle.
That is where the Federal Unemployment steps in. Governor Whitmer has already extended the number of weeks that you can claim unemployment from 20 to 26 and now beyond that, you can continue to claim the Federal Unemployment for an additional 13 weeks after you have exhausted your state benefits. We are still waiting for guidance on payment calculations and availability of the application, but here is what we do know:
If you have already applied for unemployment, there is no need to reapply.
Due to the increased volume on the UIA website there is a new schedule of application days depending upon your last name:
The Federal Unemployment benefit amount of $600 per will be added to your current weekly benefit amount.
Self-Employed and low-income earners will also be able to apply for the federal benefits.
We will keep you updated as more information is released from the state regarding calculation, timing, and qualifications.