(WXYZ) — The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) is giving tips to people who are looking to apply for unemployment avid the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to the UIA, workers are encouraged to apply at Michigan.gov/UIA or by phone at 866-500-0017, but due to tremendous call volume, certain callers may receive a busy signal.
“The UIA is working hard and fast to handle the influx of applications for unemployment benefits as we deal with the COVID-19 crisis. While an unprecedented number of calls and clicks has challenged the system, particularly during peak hours, we want to assure Michiganders that the system is providing emergency financial relief,” said UIA Director Steve Gray. "Our website may be operating a little slower, and phone queues are full resulting in busy signals for some callers, so the UIA is urging patience and recommending that workers go first to the online system at Michigan.gov/UIA.”
They are also telling people that you can apply online in off-peak hours to expedite the process, as the 24-hour website operates faster when fewer people are on the time. Off-peak hours are 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
It's reminding people to expect longer load times, and it may take several minutes for a page to load.
Over 100,000 unemployment claims were filed last week in Michigan — a 2,000 percent increase compared to the weekly average of 5,000 claims, according to Bridge Magazine.
“Though it is best to file your claim as efficiently as possible, and we understand residents are eager to receive their checks quickly, the UIA wants to remind Michiganders that the eligibility window to apply has been increased from 14 to 28 days from the date of their work stoppage,” added Gray. “The UIA is shifting as many resources as possible to handle the increase in applications and is exploring further solutions to help Michiganders get the assistance they need as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience during this unprecedented time.”
Earlier this month, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expanded unemployment to workers who are sick, quarantined or immunocompromised, or workers caring for loved ones.
Benefits were also increased from 20 to 26 weeks, and he application eligibility period was increased from 14 to 28 days.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
See all of our Helping Each Other stories.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.