Frequently Asked Questions on the Michigan Unemployment Agency

Frequently Asked Questions on the Michigan Unemployment Agency

The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has a very long process regarding applying for Unemployment Benefits and so it is quite easy to get confused. This FAQ was written to help you along your way with applying for those benefits in the State of Michigan.


How do I know if I am Eligible for UIA Benefits?

To be eligible for UIA benefits, you must be unemployed and able to, and actively searching for full time work. Michigan will also require you to sign up with their version of a job search website called Michigan Works. Michigan Works also have local offices if you don’t have access to the internet. These websites and offices are government regulated and meant to help you to create and match your resume to a new job.


When Should I File A Claim?

The UIA website states you should file your claim during your first week of unemployment. With the UIA, the faster you apply for benefits the quicker they can help you.


What do I need paperwork wise in order to file a claim?

When filing a claim you are required to have a few things with you. The UIA needs to know and see your social security number, your driver’s license or state ID card, the last date of employment with your employer, and the names and addresses of employers you worked for in the past 18 months. If you happen to be not born in the US, you will need your Alien Registration number and your work authorization number. All of these things are required for the UIA to help you gather benefits.


When can I start collecting Unemployment?

The UIA needs a little time to thoroughly go through your paperwork, but according to the UIA website itself, “benefits typically will begin the week it is filed”. That is why it is imperative to file for your benefits as soon as you can.


What do I need to know before filing for my benefits?

When filing for benefits make sure you are as accurate as possible. The UIA is going to be as thorough as possible when checking your claim for benefits and the more accurate you are means the faster the UIA can get your claim processed for you to begin receiving benefits. Also, you need to make sure you follow the rules to prevent yourself from committing fraud. Failure to follow the legal requirements has serious consequences! If the UIA has any questions for you they will contact you to find out those answers.


What if I’m still receiving money from my former employer as a severance package or such?

Michigan law, [Sections 48 and 27(c) of the Michigan Employment Security Act], states that severance pay, wage continuation, and any other similar payment made by an employer as continuing wages or other monetary consideration as the result of a worker’s separation from employment, except for Supplemental Unemployment Benefits, is “remuneration” which must be used in determining whether the worker is an “unemployed person” and must also be used to reduce the worker’s benefits. To find out more on how benefits are affected by severance packages the UIA has released a handy little pdf to explain it better. You can find that at this web address,, or at your local UIA Office.


How do I file with the UIA for benefits?

There are multiple ways to file for unemployment. You can file online at the UIA website, listed in the links section, or call the UIA through MARVIN. If you don’t have access to the internet, Michigan Works will also let you file for unemployment in their local offices because they are a government regulated entity and a division of the UIA.


What is MARVIN?

MARVIN is the name of the UIA’s automated telephone system. MARVIN is the acronym for the Michigan’s Automated Response Voice Interactive Network, a system that allows you to communicate with the UIA’s computer by using a touch-tone or a push-button telephone with a tone/pulse switch (the switch must be set at “Tone”). MARVIN’s statewide toll-free number is 1-866-638-3993. If you are having problems with your filing or using MARVIN at all, you can contact UIA at 1-866-500-0017 as well. Be aware that before contacting MARVIN to file, there are specific times and days only that you can file. There is an online guideline on the UIA’s website on how they determine what day and at what time you can call in to file for benefits. You can find the guideline here,,4680,7-118-52610-207602–,00.html.


What happens when I get a job?

When you get a job again after being on unemployment, you need to immediately report the job to the UIA. The UIA needs to know about your new job as soon as you are hired in and before your first paycheck. You can report your new job to the UIA by telephone or in person at a UIA office or UIA Job Site Office. Do not delay, if you don’t report your new job immediately the UIA can consider your case fraudulent.


What happens if I cannot use any of the ways listed above to access the UIA to file?

If you are having problems either online or with MARVIN, and you can’t locate a Michigan Works – or even if your Michigan Works has no idea how to help you – you can go to one of the many UIA Problem Resolution Offices (PROs). They are open various hours weekdays, except for a few major holidays. You can find the full list here,,1607,7-118-1525_6006-78925–,00.html, along with a list of locations and times open. The PROs can help file your claim and advise you if you are having problems with current claims. If you are going to file a claim at a PROs, please make sure to bring the listed items in step 3 or they will be unable to help you.

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