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Like most states, Michigan requires individuals who receive unemployment benefits to recertify their eligibility every few weeks. In an attempt to streamline this process and free up staff for other responsibilities, the state uses a system called MARVIN – Michigan's Automated Response Voice Interactive Network. Using your phone’s keypad, you can dial in to MARVIN and submit the required information in a few minutes, ensuring that you continue to receive your benefits.
The U.S. Department of Labor added new guidelines around unemployment in light of COVID-19. According to The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity in Michigan, self-employed, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers qualify for assistance through Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Learn who is eligible for assistance.
You can file your claims online at Michigan.gov/uia. Last names that start with A-L should file claims on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. Last names that start with M-Z should file claims on Sunday, Tuesday or Thursday. Alternatively, you can call 1-866-500-0017. Last names starting with A-L should call on Monday or Wednesday. Last names starting with M-Z should call on Tuesday or Thursday.
Making Your First MARVIN Call
When you file for unemployment benefits in Michigan, you receive a booklet that contains information and instructions for making your biweekly claims. To make your first MARVIN unemployment call, you first call in and select a four-digit PIN number that you use for the duration of your claim. You need this number every time you call MARVIN, so don’t lose it. After you establish your PIN, follow the voice prompts to complete your claim or get the information you need. Using the system, you can find out basic information about your payments, including the date and amount of your last payment.
Biweekly Unemployment Certification
To continue receiving benefits, you may need to certify that you are still unemployed and that you have been looking for work every other week. To do so, call MARVIN on the dates you are given when you first file for unemployment. You need to know the week-ending dates for the weeks you’re claiming. All weeks use Saturday as the week-ending day. Follow the instructions provided by the system and wait for MARVIN to say “Goodbye” before you hang up. Hanging up too early could result in your claim not being processed. Also, background noise – including people talking and the television – can prevent your claim from being processed correctly, so call from a quiet place with a strong signal.
Troubleshooting Marvin Unemployment Calls
If you have trouble using MARVIN or the system cannot answer your questions automatically, you are transferred to an operator who can provide assistance. In some circumstances, you may not be able to use the MARVIN toll-free number. If you have a rotary phone or a disability that prevents you from using the system, call the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency at 1-800-500-0017 for assistance. You also need to contact UIA at that number if you are self-employed and want to submit a profit and loss statement as part of your claim, if you are claiming a flexible week, or if you are in a UIA-approved training program. If the service isn't working when you call MARVIN, reach out to UIA for assistance.
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- When you file your claim for Michigan unemployment benefits, make sure you also sign up for a MARVIN user ID and Password to certify online as a backup to calling in.
- Do not hang up the phone until you hear MARVIN say the words "GOOD BYE!" our certification will not be recorded and no payment will be sent if you hang up too early.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer and editor, specializing in careers, business, education, and lifestyle topics. The author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), which covers everything from career and financial advice to furnishing your first apartment, her work has also appeared in Young Money, Lewiston Auburn Magazine, USA Today, and a variety of online outlets. She's also been quoted as a career expert in many newspapers and magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Parade. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.