Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Monday that there will be new programs for workers and some expansions of unemployment benefits for some workers who have been impacted by COVID-19.

Workers who previously were unable to collect unemployment benefits will now be eligible. These workers include:

  • Those who are self-employed.
  • 1099-independent contractors.
  • Gig workers.
  • Low-wage workers.

The new program also increases the amount of weekly benefits workers can receive by $600 per week. Workers may now receive those payments for 36 weeks - previously it was only 26 weeks.

In a statement Monday, Gov. Whitmer said,

This increase and expansion of unemployment benefits will provide a measure of security for Michigan working families who lost their income due to the pandemic. We are committed to ensuring emergency financial relief for unemployed residents who continue to stay home and stay safe.

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency says they will provide additional guidance regarding eligibility and application details soon.

On Friday, the UIA announced a new schedule for workers applying for unemployment.

The schedule for filing online is:

  • Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for anyone with a last name starting with letters A to L.
  • Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for anyone with a last name starting with letters M to Z.
  • Saturdays for anyone who could not file on one of their allotted days.

The schedule for filing by phone by calling 1-866-500-0017 is:

  • Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone with a last name starting with letters A to L.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone with a last name starting with letters M to Z.
  • Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for anyone who could not file on one of their allotted days.

Many users have reported that applying for unemployment benefits has been a slow process as the state's website and phone lines are both bogged down. Officials as that workers keep trying and remain patient.

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