How to Calculate My Gross Income for Michigan Unemployment

Check your employment records, including pay stubs and Forms W-2, for your gross income.

Check your employment records, including pay stubs and Forms W-2, for your gross income.

To qualify for unemployment benefits in Michigan, you must be unemployed, physically and mentally capable of full-time employment, ready and willing to work a suitable full-time job, and looking for full-time work. Your benefits are based on the gross income received over four quarters. Gross income is all the wages you received from your employer during the four-quarter period, including holiday, vacation, severance and retirement payments.

Regular Calculation Method

Your gross pay is your income before deductions, such as payroll taxes and health benefits. The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency looks at the gross amount you earned in your standard base period to see if you’re eligible for benefits. Your standard base period is the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters before you filed your claim. Calendar quarters are Jan. 1 through March 31, April 1 through June 30, July 1through Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. Under the agency’s regular calculation method, you must have received wages in at least two quarters during your base period. In one quarter, your gross pay must equal no less than $2,871 and your wages for all four quarters must come to at least 1.5 times the most wages you received in any quarter of your base period.

Alternate Computation

If the regular calculation method doesn’t apply to you, you might qualify for benefits under the alternate earnings qualifier method. In this case, you must have received wages in at least two quarters in your base period and the sum of all four quarters should amount to no less than the alternate earnings qualifier. The AEQ is 20 times the state average weekly wage. Michigan’s average weekly wage for 2014 is $893.44.

Benefit Amount

Your weekly benefit amount is based on the highest amount of income you received in a base period quarter multiplied by 4.1 percent plus $6 for each dependent you claim. You can claim up to five dependents when you file for unemployment. Assume that your highest quarterly income was $3,012 and you are claiming two dependents. Multiply $3,012 by 0.041 to arrive at $123.49. Add $123.49 to the $12 that you get for both of your dependents. This comes to $135.49. Round down the total to the next lowest dollar amount to arrive at $135. As of 2014, the maximum amount you can get weekly is $362.

Eligible Number of Weeks

To know the number of weeks of unemployment for which you qualify on a single unemployment claim, identify your gross income for your base period. Multiply the result by 43 percent, then divide the total by your weekly benefit amount. You can receive no less less than 14 weeks of benefits and no more than 20 weeks.

Other Considerations

You can probably accept part-time work and keep receiving unemployment benefits, but your payments will be reduced based on your gross earnings in the week for which you’re claiming benefits.


About the Author

Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.

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