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Seasonal workers unable to get unemployment benefits

Unemployment office won’t answer questions
Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 4:07 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -New unemployment numbers out on Friday show hundreds of thousands of people across the country are getting back to work.

Employers added 379,000 jobs in February, which brings the unemployment rate to 6.2%.

That’s down from the 15% peak last April when the country shut down because of the pandemic, but nowhere near the level from a year ago when the unemployment was 3.5%.

Even with the falling numbers, Michigan’s unemployment system is still not working right.

The latest issue is getting seasonal workers paid.

Seasonal workers are typically laid off when business is slow during the winter and they rely on unemployment.

“I have eight weeks certified with unemployment and have yet to receive any payment,” said Lance Kill.

Kill works for a Charlotte trucking company driving what is known as a gravel train, which is a dump truck with a dump trailer.

He gets laid off every winter because there isn’t enough work.

This winter, he’s only a few weeks away from losing his house because the unemployment checks still haven’t come.

“It’s sad and it’s very frustrating. People work and bust their butt for everything they have,” said Kill.

Kill said he usually doesn’t have an issue getting unemployment benefits.

He blamed the changes the Unemployment Insurance Agency made last year.

“I’ve never had an issue until this ID verification came up. It’s very, very frustrating,” said Kill.

Unemployment added the ID verification because fraudulent claims were made during the peak of the shutdowns that overwhelmed the system.

Kill said the agency confirmed it has all his information but he’s still waiting.

He said he’s counting on that money more this year than in the past.

“Because of COVID this last year, work was kind of up and down so I wasn’t prepared as I normally am,” said Kill.

Kill said he’s tried to get answers but isn’t able to get any help.

“My employer pays into it for that reason. And it’s just very frustrating when you can’t get any answers and can’t get any results,” said Kill.

News 10 had just as much luck getting answers from the unemployment office as Kill. The agency hasn’t responded to repeated requests for an explanation.

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