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Michigan unemployment agency adding staff and expanding call hours

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Posted at 11:05 AM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-19 17:10:23-04

LANSING, Mich. — After experiencing a 4,000 percent increase in the number of new claims for unemployment benefits, the state Unemployment Insurance Agency says it is increasing call center resources.

Michigan residents have been vocal in complaining about long wait times on the phone and an inability to get through on the phone and online to register for benefits.

In a release Wednesday, the UIA said it has “nearly quadrupled staffing levels over the last several weeks.”

To reduce the number of calls, “we’re asking workers to please reserve the phone lines for those who cannot go online or are having trouble with their account,” said said Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio in the release.

Filing a claim online takes 20-25 minutes, the UIA says.

While its call center usually has 130 people on staff, that number has been increased to 500. The UIA promises “hundreds of additional staff will be added to the call center in the coming weeks.

The UIA further promises that everyone who qualifies for benefits will get them, going so far as to backdate applications to the date the person lost their job. Normally, you have 28 days from losing a job to get your application in.

Further notes on filing online:

  • Online, it’s best to go to Michigan.gov/UIA at off-peak times, between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.
  • If your last name begins with letters A-L: file claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
  • If your last name begins with letters M-Z: file claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
  • Anyone can apply Saturdays

Here is the call center windows at 800-500-0017:

  • If your last name begins with letters A-L: call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • If your last name begins with letters M-Z: call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Anyone can call Fridays between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturdays between 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. if you couldn’t get through on your assigned day.