New Solutions

Unemployment Agency Reforms Called For Using New Solutions

SEIU New Solutions hosted a speak-out event in Detroit on Wednesday, June 27th, to allow unemployed workers and their advocates to voice their concerns over the pitfalls and inefficiencies of Michigan’s unemployment system.  Changes to the current system were provided by the SEIU Local 517M represented employees that would make the agency more efficient and provide an increased level of service.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency is responsible for assisting unemployed workers get through the tough times until they are back on their feet.  The system has been plagued with numerous problems such as: delays in payments, problems with the call-in times, the call-in system is unforgiving and has a limited time of accessibility (one hour every two weeks) for the unemployed worker to check their eligibility for benefits, and the under-staffing of the agency to handle client issues.

“I’ve seen firsthand the frustrations that UIA clients experience, especially when making their initial contact with the agency,” said Janice Cosey, a UIA employee and SEIU 517M member. “People aren’t able to get through on the phone to talk with someone about setting up their benefits or to find out why they may not be receiving payments. In addition, a lot of the information they receive is not easy to understand. There are many ways the UIA could improve communications between the agency and the clients it serves that would make the entire experience more positive and beneficial.”

Employee suggested changes include:

  • Reducing the high fees charged to UIA debit card users, which are among the highest of the 40 states that offer debit cards as a UI option.
  • Reforming the call-in system to make it more streamlined and user friendly.
  • Increasing users’ accessibility to the MARVIN system, which has limited hours.
  • Increase customer service and communications with an eye toward making the entire process easier to navigate.

The Unemployment Agency New Solutions Report goes in-depth into the suggested changes to the system.

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