On Tuesday, Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) announced its goal to clear its backlog and make a determination by July 4 on all eligible unpaid claims filed before May 1.
The agency will payout benefits for the 11,824 workers who applied prior to May 1 and are still awaiting a decision on eligibility. They will also communicate the reasoning in case of ineligibility, or deem the claimant unreachable after multiple attempts to make contact.
“Our goal is to have every unemployment claim filed before May 1st resolved by the end of next week,” UIA Director Steve Gray said, according to a press release. “While most of our eligible workers have been paid, the unprecedented number of claims during this crisis means that there are still tens of thousands of real Michiganders needing one-on-one review to pay benefits.”
According to the release, unpaid claims filed before May 1 represent only 0.5% of all claims.
“We made improvements to our processing system to more efficiently adjudicate claims, and we’ve also added some additional resources to contact these claimants so that we can make a determination,” Communications Director for the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Jason Moon said.
Since March 15, the agency has paid over $14.3 billion in benefits to over 2 million workers out of the 2.2 million eligible claimants that have applied for state and federal benefits. The release states that 94.5% of eligible claimants have received or are approved for benefits. Of the remaining unpaid claimants, most are flagged for potential impostor fraud.
“We want to make sure that we prevent any future fraud,” Moon said. “We have a number of different measures and different criteria that will flag an account for the potentially being fraudulent.”
Currently, 90,000 unpaid claims are flagged as potentially fraudulent while 33,000 unpaid claims are held pending adjudication for other reasons, according to the release.
“The agency still needs additional information from the claimant before a determination can be made,” according to the release. “For eligible unpaid claimants, the agency will make attempts to contact them if needed. There remains a path for individuals to protest any determination made by the agency on their claim.”
The agency is planning to soon announce a target date to make determinations on claims filed after May 1.
In the release, Gray said that the UIA is aware of the fear caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and that they are working to "enhance our resources to quickly eliminate the remaining backlog and get every worker the emergency financial assistance they’re entitled to."