Michigan reopens pandemic unemployment assistance as system struggles to keep up with demand

Update covers pandemic unemployment assistance and pandemic emergency unemployment compensation

Michigan reopens pademic unemployment assistance; System struggles to keep up

DETROIT – It has been riddled with problems since the start of the pandemic, but on Monday the Michigan Insurance Agency rolled out some badly needed changes.

In order to help the thousands of unemployed people across the state it rolled out an updated computer system.

It gives you an idea of just how dysfunctional the unemployment system is when the newly updated system crashed Monday morning.

That also means there are a lot of Michiganders looking for benefits as well. Since then the system appears to be running properly again.

One local man named Chris Ruzzin managed to get through and filed for an unemployment extension.

“I went to click to access the re-certification and the website kept locking up. It took at least a couple of hours for me to be able to get into where I needed to re-certify,” said Ruzzin.

Like so many, Ruzzin has been out of work since last March and the struggle over who gets what is getting tougher on a daily basis.

“It’s hurting a lot because I have obligations I need to take care of,” said Ruzzin.

Monday’s announcement came as welcome news. The state is now ready for those who need to reopen their accounts for additional benefits.

If you are newly unemployed you can now apply.

This new update covers pandemic unemployment assistance known as PUA and pandemic emergency unemployment compensation or PEUC.

Original Story: Michigan unemployment: PUA, PEUC claimants can now reopen, certify claims, state says

But there is a new requirement, you must submit proof of employment or self employment for the prior tax year. You can show pay stubs, tax documents or a state or federal employer ID.

However, you should not upload documents until you receive notice from the state.

Here are some answers to questions Local 4′s Rod Meloni asked the Unemployment Insurance Agency:

  1. Question: The website crashed this morning, has that been cleared up?
    1. Answer: This is an issue with the state’s MiLogin system and is affecting more than the unemployment system. The Dept. of Technology and Budget is working on the cause of the issue and don’t have an estimated time for return to normal operating speed.
  2. Q: What specific updates and upgrades to the system were accomplished?
    1. A: The IT developers needed to program new legal requirements, write code and map out the MiDAS system to program correctly.
  3. Q: I spoke with a wheelchair bound man today who was finally able to get through but told he couldn’t update until Feb. 15, does this mean he won’t get the retroactive benefits your release promises?
    1. A: Claimants will receive benefits retroactive to Jan. 2, 2020 should they certify for them. Claimants are able to select the date their claim should begin and certifications for those dates will be generated. It does take some time for the certifications to generate.
  4. Q: Many people are frustrated there is no one to speak with, what are the prospects of the office taking phone calls or seeing people in person any time soon?
    1. A: We understand it is difficult to get through on our customer service phone line due to the high volume of calls during this time. Customers can contact UIA by using the live chat feature or send a message link within their MiWAM account. Phone appointments are also available for customers with specific issues.

Here is the state of Michigan’s identity theft fact sheet:

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Natasha Dado is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit.