LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Unemployment Agency (UIA) announced Thursday that it has supplied $1.37 billion in benefits to 820,000 unemployed workers in the state amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
According to the agency, most workers who have not yet received their unemployment benefits will receive payments after certifying their claim two weeks after filing. Click here to learn more.
Officials say 1,178,021 Michigan residents have filed for unemployment since March 15, with 134,119 of those claims filed just last week.
The UIA received about 5,000 new claims each week prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency has since received hundreds of thousands of claims every week since March 15.
To assist Michigan residents who are financially impacted by the pandemic, the state has opened the unemployment application to self-employed and independent contractors. The state is also planning to send an additional $600 federal payments under the CARES act, officials said.
“We are committed to providing this emergency financial assistance to Michigan workers as quickly as possible, but we know we still have a lot of work left to do to get every dollar in benefits to the working families that need it most,” said Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio. “We’re working around the clock to add capacity to the system so that we can continue to process all claims during this historic demand for benefits.”
In an effort to meet the unprecedented demand for unemployment benefits, the UIA has also significantly increased its customer-facing staff. Officials say more than 600 employees are dedicated to answering residents’ questions over the phone and online, and an additional 300 full-time staff members will be added soon.
Michigan residents are encouraged to apply for unemployment benefits online here.
The agency also listed the following new call hours for those filing claims over the phone:
- Last names beginning with letters A-L: call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
- Last names beginning with letters M-Z: call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
- Fridays between 8 a.m.–6 p.m. and Saturdays between 7 a.m.–2 p.m. are open for anyone who could not file during their allotted days.
Anyone having issues with their account can contact the UIA Call Center at 866-500-0017 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 7 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday.