Great news for Michigan residents who received one of the approximately 648,100 letters sent to them stating they may have received Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) unemployment benefits they were not entitled to.
As part of the paperwork needed to be filled out to receive Michigan unemployment and the federal bump of $600 and $300 a week Michigan’s Unemployment Agency listed four options for the claimants to choose from. According to Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunities website they stated:
Claimants now required to requalify for PUA previously selected one or more of the following four non-qualifying reasons for PUA:
- Your work hours have been reduced as a direct result of COVID-19.
- You are seeking part-time employment and affected by COVID-19.
- You have insufficient work history to qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are affected by COVID-19.
- You are unemployed or working less than regular hours as a result of COVID-19 and were denied benefits on another claim.
We were informed a few weeks ago that the Michigan Unemployment Agency made a mistake in allowing people to claim federal PUA for the above stated four unapproved reasons.
Although state law states Michigan’s Unemployment Agency cannot claw back benefits if they were paid out due to a state administrative error, the state has ignored that law in the past.
Until now hundreds of thousands of people were concerned they would have to pay back the money they received and spent.
Governor Whitmer in a statement released yesterday stated:
“No one who followed the rules and received benefits through no fault of their own should have to pay back money to the federal government…We expect to utilize the waiver process that was granted by the federal government to ensure that you are made whole.”
Governor Whitmer is essentially saying she does intend to follow Michigan law and not attempt to claw back the funds given to the affected claimants. Even with this waiver process, she speaks of with the federal government it sounds as though Michigan law would have compelled the state to pay back the Federal government, not the Michigan claimants.
Many can now sleep a little easier.