How to file for unemployment in Michigan as coronavirus creates enormous demand

Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency sees 550% increase in claims

Help Me Hank takes a look at how to file for unemployement.

DETROIT – If you tried entering an unemployment office Thursday, you found locked doors and information guiding you to online resources.

The demand right now is enormous, according to Erica Quealy, a spokesperson for the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency.

Also see: Michigan expands unemployment to include self-employed, gig workers; increases weekly benefits

“We can confirm that the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency is currently experiencing an average 550% increase in claims compared to normal anticipated activity this time of year,” Quealy said.

Since you can’t register in person, you have to do so online or over the phone. The website is slow and the phone lines are backed up because of the number of people trying to file claims.

If you want to apply for unemployment, click here to do so online or call 866-500-0017.

UPDATE: Michigan implements unemployment filing schedule based on last name

“Through Gov. (Gretchen) Whitmer’s executive action and existing state programs, there are resources for employers affected by COVID-19,” a spokesperson for the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity said. “We are also strongly urging job providers facing work shortages to place their employees on temporary leave, as opposed to termination, so that they may remain eligible for potential federal assistance.”

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.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.