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Unemployment agency: ‘Unprecedented number of calls and clicks'

Posted: 11:34 AM, Mar 25, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-25 15:05:41-04
Michigan unemployment rate down to 3.9 percent in October

LANSING, Mich. — Try off-peak hours.

That’s the first piece of advice from the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency.

Calls to the UIA and efforts to log online are overwhelming the state’s system. If calls to FOX 17 are any indication, it’s almost impossible to get through on the phone or to log online.

UIA defined off-peak hours as 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., and that’s the best time to log online, says the agency in a release. The agency still says logging online is the fastest way to apply for unemployment.

The window for applying for benefits has been extended, from the usual 14 days to 28 days from the date you stop working.

Unemployment benefits were expanded in Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order on March 16 to include people who can’t work because they are sick, quarantined, immunocompromised, or have no access to paid medical and family leave. Workers who unexpectedly have to stay home to care for children home from school or sick family members were also added.

There is no need to report to a Michigan Works! office after filing for unemployment.

The benefit period was increased from 20 to up to 26 weeks while in-person registration and work search requirement were suspended.

Unemployment claims can also be filed by phone by calling 1-866-500-0017.