Losing a job can cause financial hardship for you and your family. If you qualify, you can collect unemployment insurance benefits to help while you look for another position. In Michigan, the Unemployment Insurance Agency, or UIA, administers the program that is funded by employers' taxes. As a company's claims rise, so do the premiums. Therefore, some employers may legitimately oppose your receipt of benefits. If you win, you should know if you will receive back pay for the time spent in the appeals process.
Unemployment benefits in Michigan are determined by the wages you earned during a base period and the reason you separated from your employer. Generally, if you quit for no reason, were fired for cause or retired, you may not be approved for benefits. However, the UIA will collect information from you before a determination is made in your case. Your employer also will have an opportunity to tell the agency why you should not receive benefits.
If you or your employer do not agree with the UIA determination in regard to your approval for benefits, the party that disagrees may file a protest within 30 days and ask that a redetermination be considered. You and your employer may be asked to submit information before a conclusion is made. For example, your employer may want to prove that your termination was your own fault due to misconduct, such as arriving to work late everyday. On the other hand, you may have a record of outstanding performance reports to submit.
After the redetermination is concluded, an appeal can be filed by either party to be heard before an administrative law judge. At this time, new evidence not yet submitted may be presented by each side. Witnesses also may be called to testify before the judge, but evidence already on file will not be considered. If this decision is not accepted, then the last step in the process is to file another appeal within 30 days of the decision to the Michigan Employment Security Board of Review.
In Michigan, the appeals process can take at least two months or much longer, depending on the circumstances and if any extensions are filed. This period of time without payment can drain your finances if you do not find another job. Therefore, if a determination or redetermination allows you the payment of benefits, you will receive the amount that you are due from the time that you applied. However, if an appeal later finds that you should not have been approved, you may be asked to pay back the money.