State Rep. Roger Hauck praised the Michigan House of Representatives passage this week of bipartisan legislation fixing the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).
The bill package addresses the failures of the UIA based on the findings of a workgroup consisting of legislators and other stakeholders.
“This was a major priority for me because unemployment issues are one of the most common calls I receive from constituents.” said Hauck, of Union Township. “I have actually been unemployed so I understand the stress created by job loss and what it’s like to navigate the complex unemployment system.”
The legislation addresses identity theft claims by creating a “watchdog” position to investigate fraud and make recommendations to improve the system. The plan also allows employers and employees to sign an affidavit together stating a claim is a result of identity theft. In addition, the legislation requires additional proof of identification from claimants when applying for benefits.
“I think the two key points of this bipartisan package is better communication and more accurate fraud-detection measures.” Hauck said.
The bill package also:
- Ensures claimants don’t get charged interest on overpayments due to agency failure;
- Gives those accused of fraud access to an advocacy program;
- Allows the reopening of a fraud case by the agency within three years with good cause;
- Improves the process for determining the validity of an unemployment claim; and
- Clarifies the eligibility for hardship waivers and the agency’s process for ruling on applications for a waiver.
The bill package now moves to the Senate for further consideration.