Due to COVID-19 all schools were closed (At least here in MI - I am certain everywhere). My wife's work is starting to ask when she will return. Unfortunately she has to become our 3 daughter's teacher - at least until the end of June. Our schools are participating in Remote School (Schoology) and the student's pass or fail depends on their attendance. We have a small pre-k and kindergartner as well as a ten year old, we aren't talking about self sufficient teens here - these kids are young.

In any event I know if an employee refuses to go back to work they can be terminated and lose unemployment benefits. However, I have also read that parents who have kids are entitled to unemployment during these rough times due to COVID-19 and remote school. If my wife comes into contact with someone who has these symptoms she could easily bring it home - not ideal.

How can we maintain unemployment benefits at least until the end of June without having the fear of losing both employment at her job and unemployment benefits?

  • 1
    I think you may get better practical answers on either Money.SE or Workplace.SE. An answer on this site could discuss what the law says in general, but not how it applies to your specific situation. – Nate Eldredge May 14 '20 at 16:59
  • 4
    @NateEldredge - This isn't really a money.se issue, its a law issue. – JonH May 14 '20 at 17:08
  • 2
    If your wife's employer has fewer than 500 employees, she is likely eligible under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for two weeks of leave at her normal salary and then up to ten weeks of leave at up to two-thirds of her pay. – hichris123 May 15 '20 at 5:48
  • 2
    I don't see how the "could easily bring it home" is relevant - presumably you are still working, or you could have handled the school? – pipe May 15 '20 at 17:08
  • @pipe not sure I understand. Bring it home meaning if in fact she goes back to work bringing it (corona) home could be deadly. And no we are not leaving the house. Michigan is in lock down. – JonH May 16 '20 at 4:58

According to the Michigan Dept. of Labor & Economic Opportunity, there are expanded eligibility criteria for unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 crisis. This expansion of unemployment benefits was part of the Federal CARES Act passed in late March. These expanded criteria may cover your wife:

Individuals are eligible for PUA [Pandemic Unemployment Assistance] if they do not qualify for regular UI benefits (including self-employed workers and independent contractors) and cannot work because they:

  • Are diagnosed COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking diagnosis;
  • Have a member of the household who is diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Are providing care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Are the primary caregiver for a child whose school or care facility closed, due to COVID-19;
  • Are unable to reach their place of employment due to an imposed quarantine, or because advised by medical provider to self-quarantine, due to COVID-19;
  • Were scheduled to start new employment and cannot reach the workplace as direct result of COVID-19;
  • Became the major breadwinner because the head of household died from COVID-19;
  • Quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Had their place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19; or
  • Meet any additional criteria specified by U.S. Secretary of Labor. Individuals are not eligible for PUA if they can telework or are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits (regardless of meeting a category listed above).

According to this fact sheet, you can apply for PUA if you are denied regular benefits:

When and How to File for PUA

New claimants or claimants who have been denied regular state unemployment benefits (as of January 27, 2020) may apply online using the PUA application available in the Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) at michigan.gov/uia.

  • 1
    To be technical, PUA is only for individuals that don't regularly qualify for unemployment benefits (e.g. self-employed workers). However, the expanded criteria you quote I believe also apply to the regular unemployment program. – hichris123 May 15 '20 at 5:45
  • @Michael Seifert - Im still a little confused, does my wife tell her work she refuses to come back due to the kids? If so and she is let go, does she then file for the PUA application as she currently receives unemployment? – JonH May 15 '20 at 15:30
  • Also this application looks the same as unemployment. How do I know if I am getting PUA or unemployment or are they one in the same ? – JonH May 15 '20 at 15:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.