03. Benefit Computation Factors

UIA v. Tear – 3.09

UIA v. Tear
Digest No. 3.09

Section 421.46

Cite as: Unemployment Insurance Agency v Tear, unpublished opinion of the State of Michigan Court of Appeals, issued December 10, 2015 (Docket No. 13-001038-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Rachel Tear
Employer: N/A
Date of decision: December 10, 2015

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HOLDING: Claimant is ineligible for unemployment benefits under MCL 421.46. The Circuit Court’s decision affirming that Claimant is eligible for unemployment benefits is reversed. The case is remanded for the entry of the order upholding the Agency’s denial of Claimant’s claim for benefits.

FACTS: Claimant was discharged from her job and subsequently filed a claim for unemployment benefits. The Unemployment Insurance Agency (“Agency”) denied her claim and found that she could not establish a benefit year under MCL 421.46. At the administrative law hearing, the ALJ reversed the Agency’s finding and found that a benefit year had been established because “Claimant’s high quarter wages were $2,883.00.”

DECISION: The ALJ’s finding that Claimant was paid $2,883.00 in a completed quarter is not supported by substantial and competent evidence. The Circuit Court’s conclusion that Claimant was paid more than $2,871.00 in a completed quarter is clearly erroneous.

RATIONALE: The court referred to the definition of “benefit year” in MCL 421.46(c), the definition of a “base period” in MCL 421.45, and the definition of “calendar quarter” in MCL 421.47 to determine Claimant’s eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Under those provisions, Claimant was required to have been paid at least $2,871.00 in at least one completed calendar quarter in the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before filing her claim. Claimant would need to meet that requirement to establish a benefit year. In this case, Claimant only made $1,958.30 for the entire calendar year.

Although MCL 421.45 provides an alternative base period if a claimant cannot meet the above requirement, Claimant in this case still did not earn enough to establish a base period under MCL 421.45.

Digest author: Rita Samaan, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest updated: 10/31/2017

09. Preservation of Credit Weeks

Gentris v City of Detroit – 9.06

Gentris v City of Detroit
Digest no. 9.06

Section 28a

Cite as: Gentris v City of Detroit, unpublished opinion of the Wayne County Circuit Court issued September 1, 1992 (Docket No. 91-129268-AE).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Ellis Gene G. Gentris
Employer: City of Detroit
Docket no.: B90-09803- 116335W
Date of decision: September 1, 1992

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CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A benefit year for a claimant who has preserved credit weeks begins the date the individual is both disabled and unemployed, not the date they file for benefits. Benefits cannot be paid for any week more than 156 weeks after the beginning of the benefit year.

FACTS: Claimant last worked for the employer in January, 1985. Later she was on a disability leave. She was dismissed March 25, 1986. Claimant filed for benefits June 4, 1986, but was denied due to insufficient credit weeks. Claimant filed again on October 27, 1986 and was allowed to preserve credit weeks. Pursuant to Section 28a(6) the claimant’s Benefit Year began January 13, 1985. On May 22, 1989, the date she was released by her doctor, claimant sought to collect benefits. She was found ineligible pursuant to Section 28a(4) which prohibits payment of benefits for preserved credit weeks more than 156 weeks after the first week of the benefit year.

Claimant argued it was error for her benefit year to start January 13, 1985. She asserted her benefit year should start the week of filing in May, 1989 as Section 46 provides a benefit year commences the week the application for benefits is filed. Claimant argued Sections 46 and 28a(6) were inconsistent and Section 46, not Section 28a, should prevail.

DECISION: Claimant is ineligible for benefits under Section 28a.

RATIONALE: The Board and the Referee found Section 28a(6) was a specific exception to Section 46. The Board noted the preservation of credit weeks is a specific provision of the statute which allows a person who is unable to establish a benefit year in the normal course because she is unemployed and unable to work for medical reasons to establish a benefit year and preserve credit weeks until she is eligible to draw benefits. Here that date should have been March 25, 1986, not January 13, 1985, but nevertheless more than 156 weeks before May, 1989. The Board and Referee found that when the legislature amended the Act by adding Section 28a, it intended specific exceptions to any provisions of the Act which conflicted with Section 28a. The Board cited Kempf v Michigan Bell Telephone Co, 137 Mich App 574 (1984).

Digest Author: Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 7/99