Changes coming to the way unemployment is filed

You are urged to file online

It was a surge in applications the state of Michigan didn’t see coming.

It was a surge in applications the state of Michigan didn’t see coming.

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

As the coronavirus pandemic hit Michigan, thousands of residents are trying to file for unemployment benefits and are getting a busy signal instead.

Consumer Investigator Hank Winchester pressed the Unemployment Insurance Agency for answers and now the state is doing more to make sure residents are getting the help they need.

Filing for unemployment benefits is more challenging than ever. Local 4 has heard from many who are furious the phones are always busy and filing online is too slow.

RELATED: State: Filing online is fastest way for Michiganders to apply for unemployment benefits

Now the Unemployment Insurance Agency has been working overtime themselves to fix the problem. They encouraging residents to use the web during off-peak hours instead of calling. They said they’re also working behind the scenes to make other large-changes that will be announced soon to improve user experience.

If you want to apply for unemployment in Michigan during this coronavirus crisis, click here to do so online or call 866-500-0017.

Filing online is fastest, state says

Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) said due to the tremendous call volume, certain callers may receive a busy signal. The UIA is urging people to apply online.

Applying online in off-peak hours will expedite the process. The 24-hour website operates faster when there are fewer people on the site at any given time. The UIA also urges Michiganders using the website to expect longer load times. It may take several minutes for a page to load at this time. Users are asked to be patient and not click more than once to reload a page. Filing online remains the fastest way for Michiganders to apply for unemployment benefits.

Off-peak hours: 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Applicants with questions can also access information on the website, including frequently asked questions about the process and current challenges due to COVID-19. Checking the website for answers may help alleviate pressure on the phone line. A downloadable handout on the filing process can be found here.

Anyone who believes they might have coronavirus should follow the CDC guidelines. has a list of resources available to those concerned about COVID-19.

More information on coronavirus (COVID-19):

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.