GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — We’ve reported on several problems people are having with getting in touch with Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency.
Hundreds of people tell us the online chat doesn’t work, no one’s answering their messages, and the phone system is a joke.
But another agency might be able to fix your issues.
“The number of people who were terrified and frustrated and angry was a lot to deal with for our staff,” said Brittany Lenertz, Director of Talent Solutions for West Michigan Works!
The agency deals with employers and job seekers by filling positions, figuring out what companies need, and then focusing on skills and training to help those looking for work find the right match.
There are 16 different agencies in the state and the one locally covers seven counties in West Michigan.
“Unemployment is only intended to be a temporary solution, not a long-term solution,” said Lenertz, “so start looking for work now come to us to get that help. We really do want to help them, these are uncertain times, which made the job search even that much more difficult.”
The agency shut down main offices due to COVID, but employees are answering the phones at home and doing face-to-face video calls when needed.
Brittany says there are several things they can fix but others they have no control over.
“As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s a big system, it’s a complicated system. UIA workers get a lot of training to do things, we got a few hours over a few weeks to help with some specific things.”
Agents can help file claims over the phone if you don’t have online access or it’s just not working for you.
They can also get you into your account if it’s a problem with your MILOGIN, like passwords and sometimes issues with your birthday and social security number.
“If you’re getting messages about identification verification, we can help with many of those issues, some of them we can’t. If it’s a fraud issue and there’s actually suspected fraud, we can’t do anything with that - or investigation,” she said.
Issues they cannot fix include any problems you might be having with determinations, payments or certification issues, including errors you made while filing.
If you don’t really get some of the wording on documents they might be able to help you understand that as well.
“You know, if they’re getting letters, if they’re getting emails and messages in MiWAM they don’t understand, they’re certainly welcome to call our office and we’ll try to help walk them through that.
You can also call 800-285-WORK (9675).
Just remember if you’re calling about your payments or determinations they will not be able to help.