GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The state has added new features to the website where Michigan residents file for unemployment, saying users will be more easily able to access technical support.
The new tools on MILogin (a sign-on portal for multiple services) and the Michigan Web Account Manager (the unemployment filing and account system) will hook people up with the state tech team to fix problems with passwords, locked accounts or authentication code errors. About 100 people will be working full-time to deal with those things.
The state said about 95% of people who have tried to file for unemployment benefits haven’t had any issues, but that it knows others have. If you’re one of them, you’re asked to go back online and report the problem using the new features.
The Unemployment Insurance Agency has been swamped with claims as social distancing mandates have forced all sorts of businesses to lay off staff. The state says that between March 15 and April 4, some 817,585 people filed for unemployment — an increase of more than 5,000% over the previous three weeks. 384,444 of the claims came last week alone.
“The third straight week of record unemployment claims shows the deep impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on Michigan working families,” Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio said in a statement provided to News 8. “We’re committed to making sure every eligible Michigander receives their full unemployment benefits during this crisis. The only way we’ll be able to turn the corner economically is to slow and stop the transmission of this virus.”
The state has also quadrupled the number of people manning the phones for unemployment claims and upgraded the servers for its website.