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UIA encourages certain claimants to provide information to requalify for PUA benefits

This press release was created and distributed by the State of MI

LANSING, Mich.—The Unemployment Insurance Agency is encouraging claimants who are required to requalify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to provide the agency with the necessary information to remain eligible for the federal program. At the onset of COVID-19, there was ambiguity in the federal guidelines and more latitude was given in the interpretation of those guidelines by the states, including Michigan. As the program continued, the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) became more prescriptive to states regarding what could and could not be included.

Because four PUA COVID-19 eligibility reasons included at the beginning of the pandemic were found to be non-qualifying by the USDOL, the UIA is providing affected claimants with the tools necessary to be re-evaluated for eligibility under federal law.

“We’re doing everything we can to help working families navigate this issue. Claimants who were notified that they must requalify for PUA should quickly submit their updated information so that we can redetermine their eligibility and continue to provide benefits to workers whose jobs were affected by COVID-19,” said Acting UIA Director Liza Estlund Olson. “The agency will evaluate each requalification on a case-by-case basis, and we are currently reviewing a waiver process.”

How to Provide Information to Requalify

To provide the necessary information to requalify for PUA benefits, claimants should log into MiWAM accounts and click on the “Requalify for PUA” link under the Alerts tab. Once the updated eligibility information is evaluated, a redetermination will be issued. If a claimant is eligible for benefits, they will be paid and if they are not eligible, an appeal can be filed. Claimants must submit their updated eligibility information within 20 days of being notified by the UIA.

Contacting the UIA

Claimants can visit www.Michigan.gov/UIA to access their MiWAM account to Chat with an agent or send UIA a message. They can also contact the UIA by phone at 866-500-0017 or schedule a telephone, virtual or in-person appointment online.

Non-Qualifying Reasons

Claimants now required to requalify for PUA previously selected one or more of the following four non-qualifying reasons for PUA:

  • Your work hours have been reduced as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • You are seeking part-time employment and affected by COVID-19.
  • You have insufficient work history to qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are affected by COVID-19.
  • You are unemployed or working less than regular hours as a result of COVID-19 and were denied benefits on another claim.

Qualifying Reasons

Under federal law, to be eligible for PUA benefits, individuals cannot be entitled to benefits on any other program and must be unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work as a direct result of COVID-19. On February 25, 2021, the USDOL added three new reasons that individuals may qualify for PUA. The full list of COVID-19 PUA eligibility reasons approved by USDOL are listed below:

Continuing COVID-19 related reasons:

  • I have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or am experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and am seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • A member of my household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • I am providing care for a family member or a member of my household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • A child or other person in my household for which I am the primary caregiver is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for me to work.
  • I am unable to reach my place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • I am unable to reach my place of employment because I have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
  • I was scheduled to commence employment and do not have a job or am unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • I have become the breadwinner or major support for my household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • I quit my job as a direct result of COVID-19.
  • My place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • I am self-employed (including an independent contractor and gig worker) and experienced a significant reduction of my customary or usual services because of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

New COVID-19 related reasons:

  • I was denied continued unemployment benefits because I refused to return to work or accept an offer of work at a worksite that, in either instance, is not in compliance with local, state, or national health and safety standards directly related to COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to those related to facial mask wearing, physical distancing measures, or the provision of personal protective equipment consistent with public health guidelines.
  • I provide services to an educational institution or educational service agency and am unemployed or partially unemployed because of volatility in the work scheduled that is directly caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in schedules and partial closures.
  • I am an employee and my hours have been reduced or I was laid off as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • None of the above apply to me.

For information about job seeker services through U.P. Michigan Works, follow this link.