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Ask the Lawyer By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.

| April 24, 2017


QUESTION:  Do you have to work full-time to get unemployment? I worked part-time, 25 hours per week, and was laid off after working for almost three years. Can I get unemployment?

ANSWER:     Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) isn’t as interested in how many hours you worked, but in how much you made, and whether you were working consistently. If your income from part-time work was sufficient to meet the UIA’s requirements, you may qualify for benefits.

You must first “do the math” to establish whether you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. To assess eligibility, the UIA will review your “standard base period,” which includes the first four of the last five calendar quarters before you filed a claim. The quarters of the year are: January to March; April to June; July to September; and October to December. You must have worked in at least two quarters in the base period, and must have earned at least $3,298 in at least one quarter. Total wages for all four quarters must total at least one and a half times the highest wages you received in any one quarter. For example, if you earned $4,500 in your best quarter, you would need to have earned at least $6,750 for all four quarters.

For those who don’t qualify using the Standard Base Period Method, an Alternative Earnings Qualifier allows people who have wages in at least two quarters and total wages of all four quarters of at least $19,312.40 in 2017.

So, you may be eligible, depending on your earnings.

Second, once eligibility is established, the amount you receive is calculated by multiplying your earnings during your best quarter in the base period by 4.1 percent. The UIA adds $6 for each dependent you claim, up to five. But no matter how many dependents you have, or how big your paycheck, the maximum weekly benefit amount is $362. In essence, once eligibility is established, the more you earned from your part-time job, the more you will receive, up to the UIA’s limit.

To ensure you have up-to-date information, you may wish to consult an attorney. The lawyers at GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC are experienced attorneys and are happy to answer your questions. Give us a call for a free initial telephone consultation about your legal needs. For consideration of your questions in our web column, please submit your inquiry on the “Contact Us” page of our website at

Information provided on “Ask the Lawyer” is current as of the date of publication. Laws and their interpretation are subject to change. The material provided through “Ask the Lawyer” is informational only; it should not be considered legal advice. Submitting a question to “Ask the Lawyer” does not create an attorney-client relationship between the person submitting the question and GWINN TAURIAINEN PLLC. To view previous columns, please visit our website.

By: Daniel A. Gwinn, Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
901 Wilshire Drive, Suite 550
Troy, MI 48084
(248) 247-3300
(248) 247-3310 facsimile

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Category: Featured Column

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