UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Unemployment benefits in Michigan: how to certify and prove the work search requirement

From 30 May onwards unemployed Michigan residents will be obliged to submit details of their weekly work search to the UIA or miss out on state jobless insurance.

Unemployment benefits in Michigan: how to certify and prove the work search requirement
FREDERIC J. BROWN AFP

Michigan residents who are currently receiving state unemployment benefits will now have to prove that they are actively looking for work to get the financial support, after a rule change was introduced.

From 30 May onwards residents are required to fulfil the work search criteria, which had been removed at the start of the pandemic to help those who were out of work. However as the state’s economic recovery continues recipients of unemployment support will now have to justify their eligibility.

Why do I need to certify the Michigan work search requirement?

Returning to the pre-pandemic system, Michigan residents who claim unemployment benefits will need to report at least one ‘work search activity’ for every week that they are claiming the support. Work search activities must be reported to the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) and benefits will not be paid until the process has been completed.

The state’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity website warns: “Make sure you understand your responsibilities when it comes to conducting and documenting your work search to avoid mistakes which could result in you not receiving benefits or having to repay the benefits you receive.”

Most residents who claim unemployment benefits will need to report their work search activities to the UIA, but some may receive waivers that exempt them from the process. These waivers must be applied for separately, which can be done on the Work Search Waivers online portal, but are typically limited to the following reasons:

  • You are a parent home-schooling your child due to pandemic-related school closures
  • You are unable to work due to covid-related reasons
  • You are self-employed and qualify for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programme

How can I fulfil the Michigan work search requirement?

Fulfilling a weekly work search requirement can seem like a daunting task, particularly when the number of job opportunities has been severely impacted by the pandemic, but the process need not be overwhelming. There is no definitive list of activities which can be used to demonstrate a work search, but the following are given as examples:

  • applying for job vacancies, whether in person or online
  • attending job fairs
  • creating a profile on a professional networking platform (such as LinkedIn) or a job-finding website
  • participating in online workshops or seminars related to your job search

The first time you need to provide details of your work search activity will come when you certify your benefits for the week ending 5 June. The best way to do so is by using the state’s Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM), which will prompt you to add all relevant details to the portal.

Alternatively, if you are not able to access the online system you can allow complete the weekly process by telephone with MARVIN on 866-638-3993. You will first be asked a series of automated questions before being connected with an agent to complete the process.