What is going on with Michigan Unemployment?
I was just talking to a friend who moved there a couple years ago. She is a massage therapist. She has been waiting six weeks just for an approval of benefits. She was in tears at having no income for so long. She said at least the stimulus check covered her May rent. But Damn.....6 weeks? 6 weeks and no telling how many more it will take. Here in Mass, my bf was approved immediately when he did his application online.
There are many hoops an applicant must jump through, and many of them are completely inappropriate in the current situation. So, people applying for unemployment run up against things they are required to do that are impossible to do.
Those obstacles are built into the laws that regulate the process and are incorporated into every form that must be filled out and every appointment that must be made and kept.
In many cases, applicants will never be approved in many states.
Each state seems to have different procedures, different software, etc.
The thing is that everything is designed to make getting approved for unemployment payments as difficult as possible. That's the goal, so making the needed changes is not a simple matter.
For example, in many states, a recipient of unemployment payments must apply for a certain number of jobs every week and present proof of doing so or the payments are stopped.
With businesses closed, it's impossible to apply for those jobs. Further, in some states, a recipient must show up at the unemployment office and be interviewed on a regular basis. But, those offices are closed due to the pandemic, making such appointments impossible. The system is designed intentionally to keep people from getting unemployment benefits. Saves money, doncha know?
Last Tuesday, the CA EDD opened a portal for 1099/indie contractors etc to apply for UI benefits under the Pandemic UI rules of the CARES Act. It provides $167 a week for March 1-31, then $167 + $600 in Fed money per week through the end of July.
I applied last Tuesday. By Friday, $3600 in UI benefits had been processed. That money was transferred to my EDD BoA card YESTERDAY. Less than one week, and I had a big chunk of change.
Who says government doesnt work!?
BTW - where CA needs to do a better job is in the amount of $ one can get while on UI. The current top weekly rate is only $450 a week, less than states like OH. $450 a week doesnt do much for people living in a state with one of the highest CoLs in the country. Plus, other states provide higher funding if you have dependent children. CA does not.
So all the people who thought "small government" sounded great, well, here it is. That $120 per week Mnuchin thinks the masses can live on - really is small - when you already live in the world of Republican designed small unemployment protection.
Now, instead of talking about another infusion of $120 a week, the Republicans talking point of the day is "take a pause". Meaning that the $120 per week is about to shrink some more. Which really means everybody get ready to hit the food bank lines.
Universal Basic Income.
It would cut out a LOT of the bureaucratic waste and duplication.
There is no way that UIA should have been approved in mass first and catch the fraud if any exist later. It's not that hard. Yes, the system is the pits (as in MIDAS -- the UIA Online Application System) however, why again STEVE can your employees not answer the damn phone or respond to an online chat? Hell, with millions of Michiganders sitting at home with nothing to do with being furloughed, laid off or without work - start a training class for two weeks and give what would be temp workers the ability to take UIA calls.
People would feel better just knowing someone would answer the phone or a online chat request. Even if they cannot answer all of their questions. It's better than NOTHING as right now Michiganders seeking UIA have NOTHING.
What if a person does not have internet (as not every place in Michigan has Broadband) got or will be laid off, furloughed or lose their job in Michigan? They are screwed as the phone system to take a new claim now tells a person to go online to do so. This is just ridiculous, period.
Hey STEVE -- guess what, not having staff to answer the phone, online chat or allowing folks without internet file a claim by phone is not making the backlog ANY BETTER. It's making it MUCH WORSE as more people continue to be added onto the UIA system daily.
Gretchen needs to fire STEVE ASAP. Michigan's UIA System needs to be fixed ASAP. People need their checks ASAP! The phone should work and so should online chat ASAP.
This is imperative Gretchen. Please do it.
She spends hours and hours on the phone looking for help, trying to get through to a live person.