Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill appropriating nearly $140 million to revamp Michigan’s embattled Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA.)
“This fiscally-responsible, bipartisan bill will lower costs for small businesses and fight waste, fraud, and abuse in our unemployment system,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This is the latest step we are taking to fight fraud, hold people accountable, and strengthen the Unemployment Insurance Agency after decades of disinvestment. By making a deposit into the Unemployment Compensation Fund, we can help small businesses balance their books by lowering the costs of unemployment.”
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.
The leaders of the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) knew as early as Jan. 6 they erred in developing qualifications for benefits, but didn’t tell the 700,000 Michiganders affected for nearly six months.
The Detroit News first broke the story.
After Jan. 6, the UIA tried to retroactively charge some benefit recipients up to $27,000 for the state’s mistake, instead of admitting it erred.