Why are Michigan unemployment offices still closed?

With even casinos reopening soon, why is unemployment benefits handled exclusively over the phone or online?

Many Michigan residents still struggling to collect unemployment benefits

DETROIT – Thousands of Michiganders are still struggling to get unemployment benefits in the state.

The progress and upgrades to the Unemployment Insurance Agency’s computer and phone systems has helped many but unemployment offices remain closed.

With so many businesses and government agencies open, why is UIA still shut down?

The issues with Michigan’s unemployment system include phone issues, websites crashing, identity theft and even accusations of wrong doing by some new hires on the inside.

With thousands frustrated, UIA revealed that major progress has been made over the last several weeks and claimed the majority of those who have filed have received some payments.

That upgrades to the system have helped create better communication, yet the face-to-face communication inside a UIA office is what some need -- especially for those with limited access to technology.

A statement from the UIA claims that before the COVID-19 outbreak, an employee could help about 20 customers per day and can now help about 34 people a day over the phone.

Part of its reopening plan includes adding new safety partitions to the UIA offices, allowing for customers to be on one side, staff on the other keeping both sides as safe as possible.

Additionally, the UIA claims it is currently developing an online scheduling system that will also include one-on-one meetings over the internet.

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About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4’s Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV’s “Help Me Hank” Consumer Unit. Hank works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off people in our community.

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.