Lawmakers Want Michigan’s Unemployment Offices Re-opened
WOODTV reports that with Michigan having the third-highest jobless rate in May at 21.2%, lawmakers in Michigan are urging governor Whitmer to open unemployment offices so people can meet officials in person to try to figure out how to get benefits started,
The state's unemployment offices around the state are closed still due to the coronavirus pandemic, but now lawmakers say they should be reopened as many people struggle to get their unemployment benefits. One of the main concerns is the fact that not everyone has access to the Internet which is currently one of only two ways to get a hold of anyone regarding their missing unemployment benefits.
Representative Sara Cambensy of Marquette told WOODTV,
“It’s a major failure if we don’t realize that some people … don’t have access to the internet, maybe they don’t have the savvy to go around and navigate a system. But also it’s the simple fact that some people just prefer to actually talk to someone. We have to accommodate the people that want that interaction or we’re setting ourselves up for failure.”
Rep. Cambensy also told the news outlet that she has people in her district that have been waiting at least 6 weeks for their unemployment benefits to be approved and startup.
WOODTV says the state told them around 93% of people eligible have been approved or received unemployment benefits and another 100,000 to 200,000 that were delayed because of fraud concerns or needing identity verification, have been cleared and approved/sent. That still leaves around 37,000 people just waiting to figure out why they aren’t receiving their benefits, and even though more money has been sent to help bring in more employees, with such a large number of people on unemployment in Michigan, the fear is the backlog is too great and that extra money and people resource, won’t be enough.
Lawmakers will continue to push the governor to reopen the offices as well as meeting to address how to fix another broken system that is letting down those who help fund it, according to WOODTV.