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Jobless claims soar in Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Nearly 385,000 people filed initial claims for unemployment in Michigan last week amid continued punishing economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic — the third straight week of record-high claims.

More than 800,000 sought jobless benefits over the past three weeks. The state’s 3.6% unemployment rate could top 15% when the April employment report is released in early May.

The state has been overwhelmed by a flood of applications, and some of those out of work have had trouble applying online or by phone.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency is adding staff — nearly quadrupling the call center workforce to 500 total by the end of this week — and expanding call center hours.

The best way to file a claim is online at www.Michigan.gov/UIA, where the process takes on average 20 to 25 minutes.

Workers have 28 days from their last day of work to apply for benefits. Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date on which the claimant was laid-off. If there are continued technical issues with a workers’ account, the UIA will allow additional time to ensure benefits are paid.

Online Filing Schedule at Michigan.gov/UIA

Customers are encouraged to use off-peak times from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

— Last names beginning with letters A-L: file claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.

— Last names beginning with letters M-Z: file claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.

— Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

Call Center Filing Schedule for 866-500-0017

— Last names beginning with letters A-L: call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

— Last names beginning with letters M-Z: call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.

— Fridays between 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturdays between 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. are open for anyone who could not file during their allotted days.

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