LANSING – The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has released tallies for benefits given out to unemployed workers in Michigan as a consequence of the COVID-19 outbreak in the state. The UIA said it has provided an estimated 820,000 unemployed Michigan workers $1.37 billion in benefits, an unprecedented number. The agency also said on Thursday that 1,178,021 Michiganders have filed for unemployment since March 15, with 134,119 workers filing just last week, according to numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor.
The UIA said the vast majority of workers who have yet to receive benefits will receive payments shortly after they complete the federal requirement to certify their claim two weeks after filing. Michigan was first in the U.S. to send out the additional $600 federal pandemic unemployment payment under the CARES act. It also made unemployment benefits available to self-employed workers and independent contractors.
The UIA said that in the weeks preceding the pandemic, it received around 5,000 new weekly unemployment claims. During the Great Recession, the highest count was 77,000 in 2009.
Unemployment claims during COVID-19:
Week-ending April 18: 134,119
Week-ending April 11: 222,207
Week-ending April 4: 388,554
Week-ending March 28: 304,335
Week-ending March 21: 128,806
Five week total: 1,178,021
The fastest and easiest way to file and certify a claim is online at Michigan.gov/UIA where it takes around 25 minutes. More than 90 percent of all claims are filed and certified on the 24-hour website. Customers are urged to use the site during off-peak hours between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. For anyone having difficulty with their account, the UIA Call Center — 866-500-0017 — is available 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7 a.m.- 2 p.m. on Saturday. Customers in the call center and online chat queues before closing time will have their calls or chats resolved that day.