LANSING – Due to the public health emergency that coronavirus has created, the in-person registration at Michigan Works! requirement is being waived at this time, according to a March 25, 2020, news release from the agency. This means that individuals who lose their jobs, or are laid off, do not need to visit a Michigan Works! office in order to receive unemployment benefits, per the announcement.
“There still seems to be confusion surrounding this requirement,” said Luann Dunsford, CEO of the Michigan Works! Association. “The top priority of Michigan Works! is the health and safety of our clients and the Michigan Works! staff. In order to ensure that health and safety during this very difficult and confusing time, it is important to not require in-person contact.”
In compliance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s recent “Stay Home – Stay Safe” executive order, Michigan Works! service centers are now closed to walk-in business. Despite this action, Michigan Works! is still providing services for clients virtually – either online or by telephone. If a client absolutely must see a Michigan Works! staffer in person, they can do that by calling their local Michigan Works! service center to make an appointment.
Unfortunately, the layoffs related to the coronavirus crisis have created a situation where the unemployment registration system is attempting to process a record number of individuals at the same time, making the system run at a slower pace, the release stated. Over 108,000 unemployment insurance claims were filed in Michigan last week compared to a normal average of around 5,000 per week, it said.
“Because the system is experiencing considerable delays at this time, we are encouraging clients to continue trying to register for unemployment and be as patient as possible with the process,” Dunsford said. “The Unemployment Insurance Agency is working hard to expand capacity to meet the increased needs.”
Unemployment claims can be filed online at Michigan.gov/UIA or by calling 1-866-500-0017.