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Issue Alert - 04-07-01

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Jul 02, 2004

Issue Summary:

Telephone system for Unemployment Benefits (MARVIN) now services Spanish Speakers

Persons Affected:

Spanish-speaking persons who have applied for or are receiving unemployment insurance

For More Information:

Center for Civil Justice320 S. Washington, 2nd FloorSaginaw, MI 48607(989) 755-3120, (800)724-7441Fax: (989) 755-3558E-mail:


Unemployment Insurance

What's Happening?

MARVIN now has a Spanish option throughout its phone system (1-866-638-3993) 1) When a person calls MARVIN, there's now a Spanish option at the beginning of the phone system, i.e. "To continue in English, press 1. Para continuar en espanol, presione 2. " Pressing 2 takes you to a Spanish script. (2) The New Claims phone number (1-866-500-0017) also has a Spanish option. You have to wait for the 4th choice though: "Si necesita asistencia en espanol presione 4". After pressing 4, the system then tells the caller to wait for the next available representative: "Favor de esperar para el siguiente representante disponible."(3) The Customer Service number (1-800-638-3995), however, is all in English, and has a longer introduction. It takes almost 3 minutes for the message to stop and to tell you to wait for the next representative. Callers who wait for a representative can ask to speak with a Spanish-speaker once the call is answered. A Spanish-speaking UIA representative will then either get on the line, or will call the caller back."(4) Note the following new language on UIA's MARVIN web page:,1607,7-118--78493--,00.html"Using MARVIN to phone-in your continued weeks of unemployment is mandatory. The mail-in certification forms will no longer be accepted. Contact our Claimant Customer Relations Hotline (1-800-638-3995) if:you are in a training program approved by UIA you are claiming a flexible week you are self-employed and submitting a profit and loss statement you are not able to use MARVIN, for whatever reason" Clients who have been mailing in certification forms because MARVIN could not handle Spanish speaking callers will no longer be allowed to do that. We may have to let clients who previously mailed in certification forms know that UIA is now saying that they cannot do that.

What Should Advocates Do?

Get the word out to local organizations that serve Spanish-speaking clients. Be sure Spanish-speaking clients who mailed in certification forms because they couldn't use MARVIN in the past, are informed that they will now have to use the telephone system.

Finding Help

Most legal aid and legal services offices handle these types of cases, and they do not charge a fee. You can locate the "free" legal services or legal aid office that serves your county on the Michigan LawHelp web site ( or look in the yellow pages under "attorneys" or call the toll-free lawyer referral number, (800) 968-0738.