Self-employed workers to be eligible for unemployment

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — State officials say self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers affected by COVID-19 will be eligible for unemployment benefits. 

These workers can apply for federal benefits beginning at 8 a.m. Monday.

The state says workers who had previously been denied benefits should log in to their online account to complete the next steps, which will be emailed to them. Officials say folks should not file a new claim because it will delay the process. 

All newly eligible workers will need to provide proof of income, such as W-2s, 1099 tax forms, and pay stubs. These workers could begin to receive benefits as early as April 20. 

People on paid leave or can work remotely are not eligible for benefits.

In addition, workers on state unemployment have begun receiving the $600 federal weekly payment in addition to their state benefit amount. People who just become eligible for unemployment will also receive the $600 federal payment. 

“We’re committed to making sure everyone who is eligible for unemployment assistance receives their benefits as quickly as possible,” said Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio in a news release. “Michigan is one of the first states to begin sending the additional $600 benefit to workers and our dedicated Unemployment Insurance Agency team is working tirelessly to provide emergency benefits during this crisis.” 

Earlier on Friday, the state added new features to the unemployment website to help users with technical support. 

Officials say the easiest way to file for unemployment is online between 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., although people can apply during any time. Folks are asked to apply on a schedule based on their last names: 

  • 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 will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.