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Claimants can certify online for unemployment benefits on MLK Day
January 11, 2024
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) reminds workers they can certify their job searches online on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is Monday, Jan. 15. Certification by telephone will not be available since MLK Day is a state holiday.
Claimants must report to UIA every two weeks if they are jobless and meet the eligibility requirements to receive benefits. Certification through the Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – even on holidays – by logging in at Michigan.gov/UIA.
The UIA’s Local Offices will be closed Monday and the Customer Service and Office of Employer Ombudsman phone lines will not be staffed. Because of the holiday closure, there may be a slight delay before unemployment benefits are deposited into a claimant’s bank account or added to their debit card.
Workers can go to Michigan.gov/UIA at any time to schedule future phone, virtual, and Local Office in-person appointments; find answers to frequently asked questions; and access resources, toolkits and instructional videos.
New resources available to workers
Three new resources for workers have recently been launched by the UIA to make applying for benefits easier:
- The Claimant Roadmap: An easy-to-follow, user-friendly six step guide to applying for and understanding your benefits.
- First-time filer coaching sessions: Online, web-based guidance from UIA staff who will walk users in a group setting through the steps needed to complete an application and qualify for payments.
- UIA Community Connect program: An equity initiative that partners with local groups throughout the state to provide guidance for workers from underserved groups who have faced barriers when filing for jobless benefits.
More information about these and other resources can be found at Michigan.gov/UIA.
MiWAM system replacement on its way
Planning and design have begun for a new computer system to replace the decade-old MiWAM technology used by workers to apply for benefits and employers to pay unemployment insurance taxes. UIA Director Julia Dale said a new system will provide a totally new experience that will be easy to use, speed claims processing, and build on the agency’s aggressive anti-fraud tactics. It will give UIA significant programming flexibility for system updates in response to quickly changing economic conditions and is expected to be fully operational in 2025.
The new system rollout highlights Director Dale’s efforts to transform the UIA into a national model for fast, fair, and fraud-free service, including:
- Creating the UIA Modernization Workgroup, consisting of labor, business and jobless advocates to advise the UIA on significant improvements in how it can better serve Michigan workers and employers.
- Naming a Legal Advisor and creating the Legal and Compliance Bureau to leverage collaborative anti-fraud practices for pursuing bad actors.
- Extending through September 2024 nearly 50 limited term positions in the Fraud and Investigations Division, with 30 additional staff hired with funding from a $2.6 million Integrity Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).
- Hiring new advocates in the Advocacy Program and increasing pay for preparing workers and employers for appeal hearings of UIA determinations before an independent administrative law judge.
- Scoring 100 percent for the third year in a row from the USDOL, meeting the reasonable assurance of quality benchmark for employer audits in 2022, 2021, and 2020.
- Securing a more than $2.3 million equitable access and communications grant from the USDOL Tiger Teams initiative to redesign and simplify how UIA engages with employers and develop a help center for accessing agency services.
Other significant changes throughout agency
Since being named in October 2021 to lead the UIA – the agency's 11th director in as many years – Director Dale has also:
- Revamped the agency’s public website at Michigan.gov/UIA so it is more user-friendly and responsive for those accessing services using cell phones or tablets.
- Collaborated with the Attorney General’s office as well as local, state and federal law enforcement to bring bad actors to justice and combat fraud at the agency. To date, 158 individuals have been arrested or charged in connection with unemployment benefits fraud, 80 have been convicted, and 51 sentenced for their crimes.
- Reassigned staff and resources to address the largest categories of claims that are contributing to the agency’s case backlogs.
- Rebuilt to more than $2.3 billion (and growing) the UI Trust Fund, from which weekly benefits are paid to workers.
- Approved more than 76,000 overpayment waivers (with more to come) of state and federal benefits paid out during the global pandemic, waiving more than $555 million.
- Halted overpayment collections on claims filed since March 1, 2020, while the agency addresses pending protests and appeals. More than $13 million was refunded to workers since May 2022.
- Implemented new ethics and security clearance policies for employees and contractors.
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