MI unemployment agency preparing for influx in claims

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Officials at the Unemployment Insurance Agency say they are prepared for an influx of claims with the state’s new COVID-19 restrictions in place. 

Stephanie Glidden, UIA chief of staff, said they look a lot different as an agency than they did during the shutdown in March and they’ve made a lot of changes. 

Glidden said the agency has quadrupled their workforce. She said a lot of those employees are at the front end of the claims process, so the people who are answering phone calls. 

She also said the agency redesigned its website to make it easier for Michiganders to use. There are video tutorials and a more comprehensive frequently asked questions section. 

The agency also created an online appointment system. You can sign up online for a time slot so that you are guaranteed to talk to a person one-on-one for help. The agency takes about 800 to 950 of those appointments every day. 

“I think that we are as prepared as ever for a second wave of claims,” Gidden said. “Before COVID we were seeing maybe 5,000 claims per week, we saw 380,000 per week. We don’t anticipate that again, you know, that was certainly a big surge at the beginning, but we’re ready for, for anything.”

The agency also put out a list of tips if you are re-applying for unemployment benefits. 

The agency said you should reopen your previous claim, do not create a new account. You also want to do this as close to the date as your lay off as possible. 

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