Law clinic at University of Michigan helps residents resolve unemployment claims

Workers’ Rights Clinic provides free assistance to those in need from Michigan Law students

Close to one year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, thousands of Michiganders still struggle to receive their unemployment benefits.
Close to one year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, thousands of Michiganders still struggle to receive their unemployment benefits.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Close to one year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, thousands of Michiganders still struggle to receive their unemployment benefits.

RELATED: Michigan unemployment: Residents can start to claim remaining PEUC, PUA payments

There’s a new way people who are battling the Unemployment Insurance Agency can get help to solve these issues.

Lisa Pruett has been battling to get the unemployment benefits owed to her since March. She learned she’s the victim of ID theft and someone in California is collecting benefits in her name.

Pruett provided Michigan officials with all the proof necessary to confirm who she is and has been in touch with unemployment officials in California, but she’s still locked out an unable to collect.

For many like Pruett, there is free help from one of Michigan’s oldest institutions. The University of Michigan’s Workers’ Rights Clinic has law students assisting residents in solving what can be frustrating issues.

The clinic opened at the University of Michigan Law School six years ago. Before the coronavirus pandemic, the school said the Workers’ Rights Clinic would average about 15 phone calls each week. Currently, it has more than 75 UM law students working to assist the roughly 100 calls every day.

The Workers’ Rights Clinic -- formerly the Unemployment Insurance Clinic -- offers advice, provides representation at more.

Local 4 spoke with University of Michigan clinical assistant professor of law Rachael Kohl about the Workers’ Rights Clinic in June 2020. You can read the full interview here.

Thanks to the Workers’ Rights Clinic at UM, the UIA is now investigating Pruett’s issue.

More information on unemployment benefits can be found on Michigan’s official UIA website here.

To apply for legal assistance through the Workers’ Rights Clinic, visit the University of Michigan Law School’s official website here. You can also reach out by phone at 734-936-2000 or by email here.


About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.