The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has been awarded a nearly $7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to make it easier for workers in underserved communities to access unemployment relief. This includes workers who have historically had difficulties applying for benefits, rural and urban areas where residents have limited internet access, and those with language barriers. The grant will support UIA initiatives to improve customer service, a current goal of the agency, along with chasing down bad actors who steal taxpayer money, reducing the case backlog and upgrading the agency’s computer system. View the full press release here.

The UIA has also revamped its webpage with details on common mistakes claimants should avoid. Oftentimes, those filing for state unemployment benefits will inadvertently make a mistake when they are applying for aid or certifying that they are out of work. The mistakes can delay or interrupt receiving benefits at a time when workers need help the most. Before claimants file or certify, they should carefully read the UIA’s updated Common Mistakes and Helpful Hints webpage.

Trained staff at local UIA offices can often address a claimant’s issue more quickly and conveniently than a legislative office, as the latter does not have access to confidential unemployment account information. However, my office is always available to you as a liaison to any state department or agency!