| Detroit Free Press
Michigan residents who work both traditional and freelance jobs may be eligible for a new federal supplemental unemployment benefit, which the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency finished implementing Thursday.
The Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program provides a supplemental $100 in weekly benefits for claimants who have earned at least $5,000 in self-employment income in the most recent taxable year.
Created as a part of the federal Continued Assistance Act, a stimulus package signed into law by then-President Donald Trump at the end of last year, the benefit is payable retroactively from the week ending Jan. 2 through March 13.
Claimants who are receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits are not eligible for the program.
The MEUC program is the final piece of the new federal benefits programs that Michigan’s UIA had to implement. It took Michigan, along with many other states, weeks to put into place PUA and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extensions.
The PUA and PEUC extensions for those who had exhausted their benefits before the end of the year took a month to implement, leaving many claimants frustrated after going possibly months without benefits and then experiencing issues getting a customer service representative on the phone and logging into the unemployment site.
The MEUC program is now up and running, but it ends in just two weeks, unless U.S. Congress acts quickly to extend the program.
The state’s UIA said potentially eligible claimants have received a notice about the program either by mail or in their Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) account. Claimants must apply online for the MEUC program and must submit proof of self-employment income, including tax returns, 1099’s, bank receipts, business records, invoices and billing statements.
MEUC payments will not begin until self-employment income documentation is verified, the state’s UIA said.
Information on how to apply for the MEUC program can be found here.
UIA answers some common questions
Question: When I call Michigan’s UIA, I’m sent to an automated message and then it hangs up on me. What do I do?
Answer: If a person calls into the 0017 line or attempts to chat with an agent through their MiWAM account and our queues are full, they get a message indicating that all agents are busy and to try their call or chat again later. We have been experiencing increased call volumes in the last several weeks as a result of people trying to reach us following the recent changes to federal benefit programs.
The (automated response) offers other suggested online resources in addition to asking that they try again at a later date. We do suggest that people call at the end of the week or later in the day when there is less phone traffic.
Question: I was automatically put on the Extended Benefits (EB) program when the PEUC program ended in December, and now my account says I “misrepresented” something and I owe money back. What do I do?
Answer: Some claimants that began on EB on or after CARES Act programs ended Dec. 27, 2020, were moved to PEUC. In accordance with the U.S. Department of Labor rules, PEUC must be exhausted before a claimant is put on EB. This resulted in those EB claims being stopped and the system showed an overpayment. These overpayments will or have been removed from those accounts.
Question: I’m waiting on a manager to review my claim. When can I expect to hear back from the agency or have a determination made on my claim?
Answer: Those claimants that have been waiting for a managerial review of their claims will be sent requests for further information or determinations on their claims by the end of the week.
Contact Adrienne Roberts: firstname.lastname@example.org.