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MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS

 
refugee13
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07/30/2009 06:05 PM
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MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
Michigan struggles to help out its jobless
Overloaded system can't keep up with mounting benefits claims
BY CHRIS CHRISTOFF • FREE PRESS LANSING BUREAU CHIEF • July 30, 2009

Michigan's unemployment system is swamped with a backlog of about 100,000 claims involving disputes or problems, as it copes with 450,000 people receiving benefits.



"This is not a normal situation," said Norm Isotalo, Unemployment Insurance Agency spokesman.

Indeed.

Michigan's 15.2% unemployment rate leads the nation. Since December, nearly 600,000 new claims were filed for unemployment benefits, with 58,000 new cases in June.

To handle the load, the state added 400 unemployment workers -- a 28% increase. It has helped, but the system is still overloaded.

Those who apply or receive benefits can handle their claims online. Those who try to call by phone face hours-long waits, though a new 24-hour phone line aims to reduce wait times.

"I tried for three hours, and I still couldn't get through. My cell phone battery died," said Jerry Glover, 37, who was laid off from his job in Holland making environmental testing equipment.

Added Lillie Yarborough, 62, of Detroit, who lost her job as a customer service representative at AAA Michigan: "I could never get through."

She tried Monday and Tuesday to call to extend her benefits before finally driving to a claims office in Livonia.

"They're overwhelmed," Yarborough said.

Slow system adds to jobless woes
Patricia Woliver wished she didn't have to drive 40 minutes from her home in Taylor to the state unemployment office in Livonia on Tuesday. But she couldn't get through the agency's phone lines to talk to someone about resuming her weekly benefit checks.


"I think they take the phones off the hook in the morning and leave them until they go home," said a frustrated Woliver, who waited more than two hours at the Livonia office. "You could set your phone on redial for hours."


She said it was the third time since December that busy state phone lines forced her to make the trip to Livonia.

A common complaint
It's a common complaint among the hundreds of thousands of laid off or furloughed Michiganders who rely on the state Unemployment Insurance Agency to handle their unemployment checks and, in many cases, keep them financially afloat.


Michigan has borrowed nearly $2.4 billion from the federal government to cover its claims, second to California. That debt has been suspended for two years, which will save 34,000 Michigan employers a $67-per-employee surcharge they'd otherwise owe.


Still, a backlog of cases affects some 90,000 people, Isotalo said. Those cases typically are disputed claims, such as those who were fired from jobs, were not filed properly or involve extensions.


Those who do receive benefits must contact the UIA every two weeks, by phone or computer.


The state added 240 phone lines and an extra call center to handle the demand, and more capacity for its online service.


Isotalo said 70 more workers were assigned to disputed cases two weeks ago. That's in addition to the 150 that were already handling adjudicated cases.


He said it takes time to train employees to handle disputed cases, so the UIA cannot simply reassign more of the 400 newly hired workers.



Claim troubles
Woliver's claim was among those with a glitch.

She said she was unfairly fired from her job at UPS in December. She appealed to the UIA, which ruled in her favor.

Woliver exhausted 26 weeks of benefits and filed for an extension of another 20 weeks. But her benefits were delayed, and she said she hasn't received a benefits check for eight weeks.

Woliver said her husband's income isn't enough, and they are facing foreclosure on their home of 24 years. After meeting with a UIA representative Tuesday, her claim was apparently resolved.

From now on, Woliver said, she'll try to handle her claim online through the UIA system dubbed MARVIN.

That's how Lori Jones, 49, of Detroit handled her claim.

"I think MARVIN is a wonderful program," Jones said as she left the Livonia office.

She said she was laid off from Kelly Services in November and had no problem filing her claim through the UIA phone system, either.

No such luck for Sean Nagel, 28, of South Lyon, who finished four years in the Navy in June and filed for unemployment benefits, unable to find a job.

Nagel said he tried Tuesday for three hours to call the UIA about his claim, but only got a busy signal. So he drove to the Livonia office to handle it face-to-face. After a two-hour wait, he met with a customer service representative and said he was told he'd be getting a check.

Contact CHRIS CHRISTOFF: 517-372-8660 or cchristoff@freepress.com
"Livin' The Dream..."

"Don't believe in anyone, 'cos they'll feel you so much more"

"So break me down if it makes you feel right~and hate me now if it keeps you alright~you can't break me down if it takes all your might~cause I'm so much more than meets the eye..."

"Some people would bitch if their ice cream was cold..."

Art Deco

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07/30/2009 06:11 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
I hate what's happening here, and knowing that it's only going to get worse.

But, in trying to look for a bright spot in any situation, I do see some perverse irony and humor in the idea the state's hiring people to handle unemployment claims.

Last Edited by Art Deco on 07/30/2009 06:12 PM
In ten years we'll look back on this moment, laugh nervously, and quickly change the subject.
refugee13 (OP)

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07/30/2009 06:15 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
I hate what's happening here, and knowing that it's only going to get worse.

But, in trying to look for a bright spot in any situation, I do see some perverse irony and humor in the idea the state's hiring people to handle unemployment claims.
 Quoting: Art Deco

when they hired here in Lansing, you have to have an associates degree in order to qualify...
"Livin' The Dream..."

"Don't believe in anyone, 'cos they'll feel you so much more"

"So break me down if it makes you feel right~and hate me now if it keeps you alright~you can't break me down if it takes all your might~cause I'm so much more than meets the eye..."

"Some people would bitch if their ice cream was cold..."

Anonymous Coward
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07/30/2009 06:16 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
gotta love the minimum wage jobs nowadays that expect to see a resume. lmao
Art Deco

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07/30/2009 06:18 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
I hate what's happening here, and knowing that it's only going to get worse.

But, in trying to look for a bright spot in any situation, I do see some perverse irony and humor in the idea the state's hiring people to handle unemployment claims.

when they hired here in Lansing, you have to have an associates degree in order to qualify...
 Quoting: refugee13


Really?

Well, with as many folks who are looking for work, I'm guessin' they were able to find qualified people.
In ten years we'll look back on this moment, laugh nervously, and quickly change the subject.
Anonymous Coward
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07/30/2009 06:18 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
Michigan's unemployment system is swamped with a backlog of about 100,000 claims involving disputes or problems, as it copes with 450,000 people receiving benefits.



"This is not a normal situation," said Norm Isotalo, Unemployment Insurance Agency spokesman.

Indeed.

Michigan's 15.2% unemployment rate leads the nation. Since December, nearly 600,000 new claims were filed for unemployment benefits, with 58,000 new cases in June.



Those figures are just mindnumbingly shocking.

15.2% unemployed? 600,000 claims since Christmas and rising? thats.. thats very, very bad, terrible aweful situation and if shit hits the fan, then its the last place i'd want to be a 'refugee'.
Anonymous Coward
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07/30/2009 06:19 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
WallFart is hiring.
Wraith1970

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07/30/2009 06:20 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
Stink eye
refugee13 (OP)

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07/30/2009 06:23 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
I hate what's happening here, and knowing that it's only going to get worse.

But, in trying to look for a bright spot in any situation, I do see some perverse irony and humor in the idea the state's hiring people to handle unemployment claims.

when they hired here in Lansing, you have to have an associates degree in order to qualify...


Really?

Well, with as many folks who are looking for work, I'm guessin' they were able to find qualified people.
 Quoting: Art Deco

yea, that really pissed me off, with all the people out of work, and they only hired college graduates...I'm gonna see if I can find the posting on the MI Talent Bank...
"Livin' The Dream..."

"Don't believe in anyone, 'cos they'll feel you so much more"

"So break me down if it makes you feel right~and hate me now if it keeps you alright~you can't break me down if it takes all your might~cause I'm so much more than meets the eye..."

"Some people would bitch if their ice cream was cold..."

refugee13 (OP)

User ID: 736673
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07/30/2009 06:24 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
Michigan's unemployment system is swamped with a backlog of about 100,000 claims involving disputes or problems, as it copes with 450,000 people receiving benefits.



"This is not a normal situation," said Norm Isotalo, Unemployment Insurance Agency spokesman.

Indeed.

Michigan's 15.2% unemployment rate leads the nation. Since December, nearly 600,000 new claims were filed for unemployment benefits, with 58,000 new cases in June.



Those figures are just mindnumbingly shocking.

15.2% unemployed? 600,000 claims since Christmas and rising? thats.. thats very, very bad, terrible aweful situation and if shit hits the fan, then its the last place i'd want to be a 'refugee'.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 738214

I fear I will have to eventually swallow my pride and move back to Dayton, where I have family.
"Livin' The Dream..."

"Don't believe in anyone, 'cos they'll feel you so much more"

"So break me down if it makes you feel right~and hate me now if it keeps you alright~you can't break me down if it takes all your might~cause I'm so much more than meets the eye..."

"Some people would bitch if their ice cream was cold..."

refugee13 (OP)

User ID: 736673
United States
07/30/2009 06:25 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
Stink eye
 Quoting: Wraith1970

I'm gonna run over you with my Omega Car...

omegacar
"Livin' The Dream..."

"Don't believe in anyone, 'cos they'll feel you so much more"

"So break me down if it makes you feel right~and hate me now if it keeps you alright~you can't break me down if it takes all your might~cause I'm so much more than meets the eye..."

"Some people would bitch if their ice cream was cold..."

Wraith1970

User ID: 731373
United States
07/30/2009 06:26 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
Stink eye

I'm gonna run over you with my Omega Car...

omegacar
 Quoting: refugee13

:Danger:
Art Deco

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07/30/2009 06:29 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
WallFart is hiring.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 519048


Even though I'd employed at the moment, if I were to lose it tomorrow...

I don't need a job that bad
In ten years we'll look back on this moment, laugh nervously, and quickly change the subject.
refugee13 (OP)

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07/30/2009 06:42 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
WallFart is hiring.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 519048

tried that...no luck
"Livin' The Dream..."

"Don't believe in anyone, 'cos they'll feel you so much more"

"So break me down if it makes you feel right~and hate me now if it keeps you alright~you can't break me down if it takes all your might~cause I'm so much more than meets the eye..."

"Some people would bitch if their ice cream was cold..."

Anonymous Coward
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07/30/2009 06:54 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
I fear I will have to eventually swallow my pride and move back to Dayton, where I have family.
 Quoting: refugee13



Pride doesn't exist with family - that's what they're for
Bigboat

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07/30/2009 07:05 PM

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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
WallFart is hiring.


Even though I'd employed at the moment, if I were to lose it tomorrow...

I don't need a job that bad
 Quoting: Art Deco



I have spent my whole life working for big box retail.

almost 50 years . I make 150k plus
refugee13 (OP)

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07/30/2009 07:06 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
I fear I will have to eventually swallow my pride and move back to Dayton, where I have family.



Pride doesn't exist with family - that's what they're for
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 709874

you don't know my family...lol

I love them to death and would do anything for them, but I will go insane in less than 3 months after going back...
"Livin' The Dream..."

"Don't believe in anyone, 'cos they'll feel you so much more"

"So break me down if it makes you feel right~and hate me now if it keeps you alright~you can't break me down if it takes all your might~cause I'm so much more than meets the eye..."

"Some people would bitch if their ice cream was cold..."

Anonymous Coward
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United States
07/30/2009 07:17 PM
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Re: MICHIGAN STRUGGLES TO KEEP UP WITH UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS
I wonder if they are trying so hard to extend it, because in Sept the first big wave of unemployed lose all there benefits and then crime rates will skyrocket!

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