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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, for unemployment benefits, you must be unemployed and able, available for, and actively seeking suitable full-time work. Unless instructed otherwise by UIA staff, you must also register for work at and visit a Michigan Works! Agency (MWA) service center.  

Qualifying requirements – The UIA will look at your standard base period to determine if your wages qualify you for unemployment benefits.  The standard base period includes the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to when you filed your claim.  The four calendar quarters in a year are: January – March; April – June; July – September; and October – December.

If you cannot qualify based on your standard base period, the UIA will consider your wages in the “alternate” base period, which is the four most recently completed calendar quarters.

There are two ways in which your wages may qualify you for unemployment benefits:

Regular (Standard Base Period) method: There must be wages in at least two quarters in the base period. For benefit years beginning Jan. 1, 2020, one quarter's wages must be at least $3,744; and total wages for all four quarters must equal at least one and a half times the highest amount of wages paid in any quarter of the base period ($3,667 x 1.5 = $5,616).


Alternate Earnings Qualifier (AEQ):  (a) You must have wages in at least two quarters; and (b) total wages for all four quarters must equal at least 20 times the state average weekly wage (SAWW). For 2020, the AEQ amount is $20,742 [20 x $1,037.10 (SAWW) = $20,742].