Lawmakers want to reopen Michigan unemployment offices to deal with complaints

 The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency.
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. (WJRT)
Published: Jun. 18, 2020 at 4:59 PM EDT
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(6/18/2020) - As complaints about the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency continue, state lawmakers have asked Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to reopen some branch offices to help.

Republican State Rep. Matt Hall and Democrat State Rep. Sara Cambensy hope to see unemployment offices reopen in areas of Michigan where that would be safe to deal with the backlog of problems.

Latest figures provided to the Legislature's Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 Pandemic show 124,000 unemployed workers as of May 27 were waiting to receive benefits due to problems with their applications.

Twelve members of the State House sent Whitmer a letter asking to reopen unemployment offices similar to how Secretary of State branches partially reopened on June 1.

Hall, who is chairman of the Joint Select Committee, said the Legislature authorized spending $29.1 million from Michigan's federal CARES Act share to improve the unemployment insurance agency.

The funding will help the agency hire up to 500 more temporary employees for six months to help push through stalled unemployment claims.

The unemployment insurance agency has received 2.2 million claims since the coronavirus pandemic and Whitmer's restrictions began in March.