SAND LAKE, Mich. — Thousands of people are waiting for Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency to answer questions about their claims, including seasonal workers.
Jeffery Proctor tells FOX 17 in a typical year he files every winter, and there’s never been an issue.
But during a pandemic when the agency’s dealing with a record number of claims, he and his wife can’t seem to get any real answers.
“Called them and they said it was still in process,” said Proctor.
He and his wife, Shannon, live in Sand Lake north of Grand Rapids. They have three children to care for, including an adult son with special needs.
“They locked my account, showing I have no funds, and then when I get home we have this letter in the mail,” said Jeffery.
He works for High Grade Materials - a concrete, sand and gravel company.
It’s common for the business to lay people off in the winter, and the company tells me COVID contributed to some of those with projects being postponed or canceled.
The Proctor family’s received no resolution from the UIA.
“I’ve called them, several, several times, and they just give me the same, ‘Oh, it’ll be there – up to five weeks it’ll take.”
Jeffery’s been with the company more than 10 years and is out of work every winter. His most recent layoff started Dec. 18.
“We never had no problems before, and all of a sudden we got problems,” he said.
Jeffery got a redetermination showing he's eligible for benefits, but then in February a letter came (dated Jan. 19) saying he did not verify his identity.
The couple tells me those documents were given to the UIA over and over.
“So, we sent it over there multiple times,” said Shannon.
“Yeah, we sent it over there then finally unlocked my account showing that I had proof of identity – then they locked it up again and then we got a letter saying I wasn’t eligible for the unemployment,” said Jeffery.
Jeffery’s back to work, but he’s still waiting on 13 weeks of payments – roughly $10,000 from the state.
His account still says non-monetary issue.
‘BE PATIENT & WAIT’
But every time they call or try to get answers from the agency, they’re just told to be patient and wait.
The family’s gone through their savings, borrowed money from relatives, and maxed out their credit cards. Just waiting for a resolution is not helping.
“They just repeat that all the time; they just say, ‘Well, you’ll have to wait. You’ll have to wait. We’re doing the best we can,” said Jeffery.
“We can’t tell our bills that they have to wait because we don’t have income coming in; it doesn’t work that way,” said Shannon.
We’ve sent Jeffery’s information to the UIA asking about the issue.
The agency says if you have an existing claim of any type, keep certifying as usual and check the UIA website and your MIWAM for any updates.