New schedule for unemployment apps; food benefits expand

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Due to a spike in unemployment applications, the state is asking people to file on a schedule based on their names.

These times are just a suggestion to help with the process. People’s benefits will not be impacted by when they call or file online.

For online applications, last names starting with the letters A-L are asked to file on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. People with last names beginning with M-Z should file on Sundays, Tuesdays or Thursdays. Anyone can apply online on Saturdays.

For those applying over the phone, people with last names starting with A-L should call Mondays and Wednesdays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Folks with last names beginning with M-Z on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Anyone can call on Fridays.

In addition, the state says everyone receiving food assistance will get the maximum monthly allowance they can get depending on their family size. People will not have to reapply to get the maximum benefits.

Also, the state says the federal government has allowed them to suspend work requirements, which affects about 27,000 people.

Those federal work requirements will be suspended starting April 1 until the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration is lifted by the secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services. At that point, state officials will give an update.

No action is required for those temporarily exempt from the federal work requirements.