A bill Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said she will sign into law aims to spend $140 million to improve the embattled Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).
When Michigan’s unemployment rate spiked to 22.7% in April 2020 after COVID-19 and an economic shutdown, the UIA often failed to provide timely benefits to eligible Michiganders.
The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) failed to screen 5,508 workers before giving them access to software that disbursed $39 billion of taxpayer money since March 2020.
An audit released Friday from the Office of Auditor (OAG) General Doug Ringler marked four “material conditions” – the most severe rating – asserting the UIA failed to take multiple safeguards to prevent employees from looting taxpayer money.
Emails show that in May 2020, the federal government warned Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance (UIA) about its lax jobless aid qualification questions. Despite a second warning as early as Jan. 6, 2021, the UIA still didn’t fix its mistakes.
The unheeded warnings are now costing nearly 600,000 Michiganders stress as well as potentially thousands of dollars to repay Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits erroneously paid out.