Have you been laid off and applied for unemployment lately? Many people I have heard from on the campaign trail have been waiting weeks and months after filing for any word on their initial payment. “Pending Adjudication - Add Additional Docs?” is what it says on their application without any further information or request for documents.
When you enter the system called MiWam, their live chat is not available, their phone system has no person at the end of all the options and hangs up on you, and their website offers no clarity or help.
In Lansing, Michigan’s Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic recently has been investigating the issue stating that “The UIA has told our committee that problems are being taken care of, but I regularly hear from people who had to wait eight or 10 weeks for a response from the agency about their claims, and even longer for their situation to be resolved."
When I call the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Communications Director, Jason Moon, I get his voicemail which says if you are calling about unemployment, do not leave a message but go to www.michgan.gov/uia. Even if you want to leave Jason a message, his mailbox is full, and it hangs up on you.
The increase in claims from the Pandemic has definitely impacted our state UIA system, but, 6 months later, why is it still causing delays for thousands of claimants that lasted weeks and, in some cases, months?
Just as a reminder, if you work at a job for a certain period of time, you are entitled to unemployment benefits if the job ends through no fault of your own. The Federal Unemployment Tax Act ensures that all employees are covered by unemployment insurance so that employees who are involuntarily terminated without cause will have a source of income while they search for a new job.
Also, the Cares Act $600-a-week federal supplemental Unemployment Insurance that was enacted by Washington lawmakers in the spring lapsed at the end of July for more than 25 million Americans. Now, each state, including Michigan, must submit applications to FEMA to restart extra federal benefits of $300 week. In the end, this will reduce the weekly payments from $908 per person to $608 on average nationwide.
When will the extra $300 in unemployment benefits start? Don't expect it anytime soon, experts warn.
As a State Representative candidate, I am looking out for you on this and other matters to make sure you get the assistance you are eligible for in a timely manner.