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Published 4/8/2020
12:13pm

UIA Extends Call Center Hours, Adds Staff to Better Serve Customers

Best Way To File Is Online

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The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is adding staff and hours to better serve an unprecedented increase in customers filing unemployment claims as a result of COVID-19. The UIA has extended call center hours by an hour every day 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and it remains open from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday. Customers in the call center and online chat queues before closing time will have their calls or chats resolved that day.

The UIA continues to increase call center resources and has nearly quadrupled staffing levels over the last several weeks. Normal staffing levels are around 130 employees. By March 30, approximately 300 staff were answering calls and by the end of this week an estimated 500 employees will be dedicated to the call center. Hundreds of additional staff will be added to the call center in the coming weeks.

“Thank you to Michigan’s working families for their patience as the UIA continues to provide emergency financial assistance during this unprecedent increase in unemployment claims,” said Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio. “We continue to ramp up our services to make sure every eligible Michigander receives their benefits as quickly as possible and we’re asking workers to please reserve the phone lines for those who cannot go online or are having trouble with their account."

The best way to file a claim is online at Michigan.gov/UIA, where the process takes on average 20-25 minutes.

All Eligible Workers Will Receive Benefits
The UIA assures every eligible worker in Michigan who applies for unemployment benefits will receive them. Workers have 28 days from their last day of work to apply for benefits. Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date on which the claimant was laid-off. If there are continued technical issues with a workers’ account, the UIA will allow additional time to ensure benefits are paid.

Historical Demand
The latest U.S. Dept of Labor report shows that since March 15, more than 420,000 workers filed initial unemployment claims in Michigan - March 15-21: ​127,810 claims / March 22-28: ​303,638 claims. The two weeks prior saw around 10,000 total initial claims filed, which equates to a more than 4,000% increase in initial unemployment claims. The highest week for initial claims during the Great Recession, was around 77,000 claims in Jan. 2009.

Online Filing Schedule at Michigan.gov/UIA: Customers are encouraged to use off-peak times 8 p.m. – 8 a.m.

• Last names beginning with letters A-L: file claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
• Last names beginning with letters M-Z: file claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
• Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

Call Center Filing Schedule for 866-500-0017:
• Last names beginning with letters A-L: call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Last names beginning with letters M-Z: call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
• Fridays between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturdays between 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. are open for anyone who could not file during their allotted days.

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Update 4/5/2020

Benteler Automotive Corporation in West Michigan will lay off 1,000 employees.  The company notified the state of the temporary layoffs due to global impacts on the supply chain.

Cease and desist letters were sent to three non-essential Upper Peninsula businesses for remaining open when only essential businesses should be open.  Auto Credit Center, Grow Masters Indoor & Outdoor Gardening Supplies and Holy Smokes Tobacco Shop, all in Menominee County, were hand-delivered the letters by Michigan State Police.

Michigan State University is launching virtual courses aimed at anyone interested in gardening.  The Cabin Fever Conversations series features a different guest speaker each week.

Meijer is now conducting health-screenings of employees before each shift.  The West Michigan-based retailer joins other companies taking extra steps to keep employees and customers safe.

The Treasury Department has announced that Social Security recipients will automatically receive the direct payment being made to Americans as part of the CARES Act, Congressman John Moolenaar said, noting that he supported the initiative. Social Security recipients who normally do not file a tax return, do not need to file one to receive the payment.

Lansing Police are asking for help locating a missing teen.  Demasio Nino Perez is 14 years old, 6'1 and 155 pounds, police say, and was reported as a runaway/missing person last seen in the 500 block of Riley Street in Lansing.  He was wearing black and grey sweatpants and a grey t-shirt.  Call 517-483-4600 with information.

Saginaw parks and playgrounds have closed to vehicle access effective immediately.  Anyone wishing to utilize a city park will have to enter on foot until further notice.

The MHSAA has cancelled the remainder of the 2019-2020 winter and sports seasons.  This marks the first year since 1942-1943 that finals will not be played.  World War II forced the cancellation of many final sporting events.

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