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Workers continue to struggle with unemployment benefits process

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 5:49 PM EDT
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MIDLAND, Mich. (WJRT) -"I’ve got my rent due next week and I don’t quite know how I’m going to pay that yet," said Midland resident, Gail Austin.

Gail Austin lost her job the first week of September. Adding to her anguish-- the waiting game when it comes to receiving unemployment benefits.

“I know I’ve got the money coming, I’ve been approved for x amount of weeks. For 22 weeks, then it goes into 13 weeks, then it goes into 20 more weeks, so I have the money, I just can’t get them to put it into my account,”

Austin said she can’t understand why the state isn’t doing more to make the process easier.

The state employs 50-thousand people.

Since late March, employees who are not critical infrastructure workers- have been working remotely

“They are essential workers, they need to be in their job site back working again,”

Between March 15th to September 2nd, 2.1 million Michiganders have been paid unemployment benefits.

In 2019, the jobless rate was under 4 percent. The current numbers- often overwhelming the system.

This week, the state of Michigan announced the creation of a phone assistance help line that offers one-on-one appointments for people having trouble receiving their unemployment benefits.

Unfortunately for Austin, since she has been approved for benefits, she is not eligible to use the service. As recently as the 15th Austin says she was assured that she would receive a check this week.

But so far, that hasn’t happened, now as the first of the month draws near-- Austin says she doesn’t know what she is going to do.

“I looked at resources and they are agreeable to help me, they are going to try to help me. I’m two months still waiting to get a check,” she said.

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