Michigan’s Unemployment Benefits Mess – Is Still A Mess
Michigan state lawmakers are again looking over serious issues surrounding the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. The findings they say are troubling. One is going so far as to say the agency needs to be “razed” and rebuilt from scratch.
The Michigan State House Oversight Committee hearing at the state capital focused on the latest debacle with the agency. It set up benefits eligibility parameters based on new federal guidelines. Hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents applied based on the state-provided guidelines. But then earlier this year, the state essentially said, “Oops”.
It is a monumental issue. And it's no joke. Hundreds of thousands of state residents were notified they may have to repay the benefits they received from the state because of the error. The state’s error, not theirs.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer stepped in and said most would be exempt from repayment. But the Oversight Committee is hearing from state residents who say they aren’t hearing that and fear they’ll be forced to repay in some cases, over $20,000 in unemployment benefits. At the same time, Committee Chairman Steve Johnson and other lawmakers on the panel are hearing some Michigan residents still have not received any of their requested benefits, months after filing their applications.
The Detroit News reports its hearing from the agency that it plans to review cases but it can’t respond to media inquiries about specific cases. Agency spokesperson Jason Moon tells the News many benefits recipients may end up being waived from the repayment requirement.
"The UIA may waive overpayments if they determine that the payment was without fault on the part of the person who applied for benefits. Those who have an overpayment due to PUA requalification, in general, fit into this category and will not have to repay any benefits received."