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Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency fails on its goal to answer 35,000 calls a day

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Posted at 11:26 PM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 00:54:23-04

LANSING, Mich. — Last month, the director of Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency told lawmakers the agency hoped to 35,000 a day starting in July, aiming for about 160,000 calls a week.

We are still nowhere near that number, according to figures from the agency:

  • The week of June 29, workers answered 42,611 calls.
  • The week of July 6 they answered 50,496.
  • Then the week of July 13, a little more at 55,653.

Those were all inbound calls to the 866-500-0017 number.

The UIA says it has more than 2,000 current staff working phones, handling logon/login issues, adjudicating, identity verification inbound/outbound, and responding to legislative inquiries. This includes vendors, UIA staff and retirees, temporary hires, contractors, and staff from other state agencies.

A spokesperson could not give us a number of people answering MiWAM messages but says there’s only a limited number responding to chats, as those are for general questions only.

When a person sends a MiWAM message, UIA reps tell us, it attaches directly to their claim. Staff then work on these messages during their morning and afternoon overtime hours, plus the messages are worked on once a claim is reviewed by a specialist.

When asked about the vendor who handles the UIA software, the agency said the contract is set to expire Aug. 28, 2020. But without another vendor already lined up, it’s likely the state will try to extend the contract on a limited-term basis with immediate changes worked into the contract negotiations.