Can You Get Unemployment as a Long-Term Substitute Teacher in Michigan?

A teacher in Michigan may work as a full-time teacher or as a substitute teacher. Because each school district in the state functions differently, each has its own rules regarding the hiring of substitute teachers. While some substitute teachers are paid for full-time work, others are only contract employees. If you are a full-time teacher, then you can file for unemployment if let go, but not if you're a contract employee.

Teachers in Michigan

Teachers in Michigan are divided into two categories: full-time and contract. If a teacher is a full-time teacher, whether a substitute or another kind of teacher, then she is paid with a W-2 form and has taxes deducted from her salary. If she is a contract teacher, then she is paid under a 1099 form. A full-time teacher does not necessarily have a class but may be a permanent substitute.

Unemployment Benefits

Under Michigan law, unemployment benefits are only available to individuals who are employed full-time or have consistent part-time work and then are dismissed from their jobs through no fault of their own. If a teacher were to be dismissed from full-time substitute teaching, then she would likely qualify for unemployment, as she did not quit voluntarily and worked steadily when she was employed.

Read More: How to File for Unemployment Benefits Extension


There are a number of different qualifications that a person must meet in order to receive unemployment benefits. The only way to be certain of one's qualification for unemployment is to apply to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. There is no cost to apply, and when you do apply you should receive a decision on your case within several weeks, with benefits retroactive to the day you applied.


A substitute teacher is not guaranteed unemployment. If the teacher has found another job, then he is likely making too much money and will not be eligible for benefits. In addition, while unemployed, the teacher must be available to take a new job, as well as constantly looking for one. A substitute teacher may be able to get unemployment between teaching gigs, but he would have to check with the unemployment agency.

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