LANSING, Mich. – Eligible Michiganders who are still waiting to receive unemployment insurance benefits may receive funds by July 4.
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) announced Tuesday a goal to respond to all unanswered claims filed before May 1 by July 4. Officials say unpaid claims filed before May 1 comprise only 0.5 percent of all claims in Michigan.
One of the following determinations will be made for individuals still waiting to see if they are eligible for unemployment benefits: The UIA will either pay out the benefits, determine if a claimant is ineligible and communicate why or deem the claimant unreachable if multiple attempts to establish contact were made, officials said.
“Our goal is to have every unemployment claim filed before May 1st resolved by the end of next week,” said UIA Director Steve Gray. “While most of our eligible workers have been paid, the unprecedented number of claims during this crisis means that there are still tens of thousands of real Michiganders needing one-on-one review to pay benefits. We know COVID-19 continues to cause fear and frustration for these families and we are working work around the clock and enhance our resources to quickly eliminate the remaining backlog and get every worker the emergency financial assistance they’re entitled to.”
According to the agency $14.3 billion in benefits have been paid to more than 2 million Michigan workers since March 15. Officials say that more than 2.3 million Michiganders have filed claims with the UIA since March 15 and 94.5 percent of those claimants have been paid at least once.
Michiganders met with lawmakers in Lansing last week to share their grievances regarding the process to receive unemployment insurance benefits amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. When the pandemic hit the state in March and forced residents to isolate at home, claims for unemployment benefits were filed at unprecedented rates.
The UIA previously attempted to make adjustments to simplify the filing process amid the pandemic, but many Michigan residents still claim they cannot get ahold of anyone on the phone and have not received responses online. Officials say they are working to reopen offices to the public soon as the state begins reopening.
The agency announced last week that it has now cleared a majority of all accounts that were flagged for further identity verification due to criminal attacks. This includes the clearing over 200,000 of the 340,000 active claims with claimants’ benefits resuming within days. Over 100,000 of the 200,000 newly flagged claims were also cleared.
Officials say the UIA will announce a target date to respond to unanswered claims filed after May 1, 2020.