Michigan House Republicans
Fixing a broken agency
RELEASE|January 10, 2024

By: State Rep. Pauline Wendzel

Recently, Michigan’s nonpartisan Office of the Auditor General uncovered failures by the Unemployment Insurance Agency. The report found the UIA neglected to investigate improper payments made during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

If an individual broke into my home and stole from me, I’d be incredibly upset.  I’d expect that everything possible would be done to track down any missing items.  Michigan’s UIA is funded with our tax dollars, and Michigan residents blatantly had their hard-earned money stollen.  Based on the nonpartisan report, the Governor and the UIA could have tracked down fraudulent payments and ensured those dollars went to eligible recipients. Instead, they let fraudulent payments to inmates and other bad actors walk right out the door.

The audit into the Investigations Division at the Whitmer administration’s UIA found that between January 2020 and October 2022, the agency failed to attempt to identify a large share of imposter claims or to recover many payments and penalties. To date, audits have already uncovered billions of dollars in fraudulent payments. The most recent report revealed another $245.1 million in potentially improper payments to ineligible individuals, even after the agency found that an individual was dead or in prison. The UIA did not identify or act to evaluate whether the payments were appropriate.

The House Republican plan to reform the UIA would increase transparency, prevent fraud, and improve customer service for unemployed workers seeking benefits and employers who pay taxes into the unemployment system. The bills are still in the House Ethics and Oversight Committee.

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