Michigan casino workers, if you’re out of work because your employer shut down temporarily due to the coronavirus, you aren’t out in the cold. You may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits from your state.
This insurance is what gaming facilities in the Wolverine State pay into on your behalf. In order to take advantage of the program, however, you must qualify and apply.
Info on unemployment insurance for Michigan casino workers
New federal guidelines give Michigan additional flexibility on unemployment programs. These could make you eligible even if under normal circumstances, you might not have qualified.
For example, even if your layoff is just temporary and the casino plans to rehire you after the shutdown, you may still qualify. You may also qualify if you have just had your hours cut but are still working some.
The state of Michigan, not the federal government, administers unemployment insurance in your state. If you file a claim, you must do so with the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).
Although the UIA has closed all its offices to the public, assistance is still available over the phone at 1-866-500-0017. The Michigan UIA strongly prefers residents to file their claims online, however.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently signed an executive order regarding unemployment insurance. It enacts two significant changes in regulations.
Whitmer extended the benefits period from 20 to 26 weeks, which is essentially half of a year. She also extended the eligibility period for filing a claim from 14 to 28 days.
Whitmer also waived the report for work and work search requirements. Right now, the job market is a bad place to be for many people.
Time is of the essence in filing a claim. The sooner you do so, the sooner you may receive benefits. It’s important to know whether you qualify, however.
How do I know whether I qualify for benefits?
Under current regulations, you likely won’t qualify if you just perform contract work for Michigan casinos. If you filled out a W-9 when the casino hired you, you should be eligible.
You do have to be a Michigan resident, however. If you work for a Michigan casino but legally reside in another state, you need to file a claim with your legal state of residence.
Your employer must also pay into Michigan’s unemployment insurance system. All casinos within the state’s borders will have done so, so you shouldn’t worry about this requirement.
The state also has a mandated amount of time that you must have worked for a Michigan company under normal circumstances. Even if you only worked for a casino for a short time before it shut down, you may still be eligible, however.
If you’re still working but less than you normally would, you may still qualify for partial benefits. The best thing to do is file a claim quickly so the UIA can ascertain your specific case.
Doing so is quite easy once you know what the application requires. A few pieces of information and a computer or a smartphone are all you need to get started.
What do I need to file a claim in Michigan?
The application for benefits requires you to share a few pieces of pertinent information with the UIA. Once you start the online application, you can save your progress and pick it back up later if you need to gather more information.
The information you will need to complete the application includes:
- Your Social Security number.
- The names and addresses of all employers you have worked for over the past 18 months, including your gross (pre-tax) wages during that time.
- Your Michigan ID such as a driver’s license.
- The last day you worked for each employer you worked for over the past 18 months.
- Your most recent employers’ Federal Employer ID Number (FEIN) and Michigan Employer Account Number (EAN). If you received a W-2 from this employer, that information would be on the W-2.
- If you are not a US citizen, you will need your alien registration card.
Hopefully, things will return to business as normal for Michigan casino workers soon. In the meantime, there are state programs to assist you.