State says it's provided benefits to more than a million unemployed Michigan workers

The state of Michigan says it has provided benefits to more than a million workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19.

After weeks of frustrated attempts from laid-off workers who were unable to secure jobless benefits from the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA), the state appears to be catching up to the number of applicants. Hampered by an unprecedented amount of traffic to the website, the portal that aided applicants to apply for aid continuously buckled under pressure. 

On Monday, a press release was issued stating that more than $1.66 billion had been dispersed to 1,018,315 workers. That's still not every Michigan applicant, however. The most recent U.S. Department of Labor numbers shows more than 1.17 million workers have filed for unemployment.

“We are working hard to provide emergency financial assistance to those affected by COVID-19, with more than 1 million Michiganders receiving benefits,” said Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio in the release. “While Michigan’s unemployment system appears to be outpacing the rest of the country in paying benefits, much work remains for those who still need help completing their claim. We will not rest until everyone receives the benefits they are entitled to.”  

In this photo illustration, a person files an application for unemployment benefits on April 16, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

To combat the disruption of the UIA system has extended its call center hours, added hundreds of staff members, and retooled its website. 

RELATED: Another 4.4 million workers applied for unemployment last week, roughly 26 million out of work

Even with the added help, the state hasn't responded as quickly as many would have liked. With the state's economy already faltering and Michigan's jobless rate among the highest in the country, many residents and lawmakers have directed criticism at Whitmer over the disruptions.

During a press conference weeks earlier, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the state's weekly claims were easily outpacing the worst weeks of the Great Recession. The weekly high in 2009 was around 77,000 new claims. Each week of the pandemic has registered new unemployment filings that dwarf that weekly high:

  • Week-Ending March 21:             128,806
  • Week-Ending March 28:             304,335
  • Week-Ending April 4:                  388,554
  • Week-Ending April 11:                222,207 
  • Week-Ending April 18:                134,119

Michigan was one of the first states to begin sending $600 federal payments to workers under the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation plan that was authorized under the CARES Act approved by Congress.

If you need to apply for funds, go to for more information.