By Mike Kruzman /

Livingston County residents needing help with unemployment claims now have a new option.

Since March 15 roughly $25-billion in unemployment benefits have been paid out to 2.2-million workers in Michigan. For some the process went fine, but for others, getting their due benefits proved to be an exercise in frustration. While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Unemployment Insurance Agency offices to remain closed, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity is announcing a new telephone appointment option for customers with specific claim issues. Phone appointments are available Monday through Friday from 8:15am to 4:25pm and can be scheduled a week in advance.

Once scheduled, a customer service agent will call the claimant from the agency’s dedicated customer service line on the designated day and time to give assistance for several possible issues. These issues may include a claimant filing under the wrong Social Security Number, inactive claims, being unable to certify for all weeks needed, a claimant needing to file a claim but one is already filed in their name, and not having the link in MiWAM to file a claim.

Those receiving assistance should be prepared to verify their identity with their Social Security Number and Driver’s License or State Identification number. Most appointments are expected to take no more than 20 minutes.

To schedule an appointment, visit