So the worse has happened; you have lost your job. You’ve worked at one place for the past ten years or so. You are pushing 60 years old. You had hoped you could retire from here and spend your remaining time with your wife, collecting retirement benefits. Things happen, plans change; it’s a tough world.
You’ve lost your job but you had an idea what to do right away; you applied for unemployment immediately. The very day you get laid off is the day you should apply. There are articles on several writing sites on the internet to tell you how to file an unemployment claim in your sp3ecific; go read a couple of them then go apply. But, after you have applied what else should you do to protect your immediate future?
There are a few things you must do then a couple of things you should do. This is what you must do in the state of Michigan;
1) REGISTER FOR WORK: You must register for work before the first unemployment payment can be made. You register for work by creating a resume (see other articles on several writing sites on the internet on how to create a resume). Once your resume is created you put it into the Michigan Talent Bank at a Michigan Works Agency (MWA). There are plenty of these in the state of Michigan; there is bound to be one near you. To find the office nearest you call;
NEAREST MWA OFFICE: 1-800-285-9675
Once you find the nearest office, you put your resume into the Talent Bank using the Internet by going online to;
MWA ONLINE: www.michworks.org
Even if you register online you must still report in person to a MWA office to verify your registration is active in the system. There will be a very simple form you must complete, have stamped and returned to you for your records. The form consists of no more than your SSAN (Social Security Account Number) and your name. The body of the form consists of instructions and directives on what could happen if you do not register, in person, at an MWA office. In short, you could lose your benefits so you must do it.
The registration, in person, at an MWA office is the most important thing you must do. Call the 800 number, find the address, get down there immediately and register. You must register at least 3 days before calling the Unemployment Insurance Agency’s (UIA) automated telephone system (MARVIN). You will use MARVIN to qualify for your UIA payments; the first one is vital to get the process started on the right foot.
2) CALL MARVIN: The second thing you must do is make your first call to MARVIN. You will be calling in every other week on your per-determined day and time. You will be assigned a one-hour window within which to make that call. They have constructed a complex schedule that you must get a copy of. Do not miss your scheduled time or you could lose your benefits. You call MARVN at
MARVIN TELEPHONE: 1-866-638-3993
Personally, I prefer the online method for communicating with MARVIN;
MARVIN ONLINE: www.michigan.gov/uia
There is a list of key paragraphs down the middle of the page. Click on “Certify with MARVIN online.” You will be taken to a simple question and answer page. Follow the prompts and it will take you no more than two minutes to make your two-week claim for unemployment. The telephone method can take up to five minutes and it is a little more confusing. If you use the online method you can qualify with MARVIN anytime from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM every day of the week; you will have no specified qualification window.
Those are the only two things you must do. Several things you should do include;
1) MICHIGAN UNEMPLOYMENT HANDBOOK: Get a copy of the Michigan Unemployment Handbook; everything I have just told you, and more, is in that very valuable little booklet. It is called “A Handbook for Unemployed Workers.” When you make your “in person” visit to the MWA office, make sure you request a copy.
2) FOOD STAMPS: The next thing you should do is to not take your lay-off for granted. Sure you plan on being back to work within a couple of weeks, but today’s working environment is nothing like it was even just five years ago. Many of those jobs you thought you could have gotten at a moments notice are either not there any longer or the person holding it is not leaving for love or money. People tend to hang onto their valuable jobs during financial depressed times like we have today.
Locate your local Department of Human Services (DHS) and go down in person to apply. This should be done on the first day of your lay off same as the unemployment claim. The DHS offices are County based and their services are administered through assigned human specialists. There is no state wide central office, so I can’t really provide you with telephone numbers. When you find where your local DHS office is located, go there in person and they will assign you a specialist. At that time you will be given that individual’s telephone number and fax.
Dealing with the DHS can be much more complicated and frustrating than MWA, but it is vital you get your case opened and active. Food stamps are awarded based on your current income. If you apply immediately, you really don’t know if you are getting unemployment benefits or not. You do know your previous employer will not be paying you any longer. So you can truthfully answer you have zero income. With zero income you will get the largest award available for your circumstances.
DHS is very good about keeping up to date on the amount of your award. Once you do get your first unemployment payment they will automatically update your food stamp allotment according to your new income. The earlier you apply the better chance of getting at least one month worth of food stamps at the highest possible amount.
The application for DHS services includes more than just food stamps. It is a very long and detailed application. I suggest you check all the services that could possibly apply to your situation. This includes; medical, prescription, utilities, mortgage, cash assistance and food stamps. You may get denied on everything but food stamps but at least you have your application in place and the process has been started.
Your food stamps award will be issued to you via something called an EBT card (Electronic Benefit Transfer). It is just like an ATM card only it is used for DHS benefits only; food stamps and cash, if any. Your award goes into an electronic account automatically. You then use the EBT card exactly like you would use an ATM card.
There are so many exceptions and qualifying requirements and regulations related to DHS benefits that I couldn’t detail them here. The key is to get down there and apply for food stamps. You will be assigned a specialist. Your specialist will be available for all questions. This is a strong should though. You won’t regret it if you can get it done right away. Who knows how long this lay off will last, you owe it to yourself to be prepared.