Lansing – State Representative Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron) praised his colleagues in the Michigan House of Representatives today for the passage of bipartisan legislation that helps fix many issues within the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).
The package of bills that passed with widespread bipartisan support addresses the failures of the UIA based on the findings of a workgroup consisting of legislators and other stakeholders.
“Based on the calls to my office, it was very clear to me that the current practices of the UIA were not working,” said Hernandez, “These reforms will help ensure the quality of customer service greatly improves for Michigan taxpayers.”
The legislative package will address 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.
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.