House Oversight Committee Chairman Steve Johnson (center) listens to testimony during a hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 17. The committee examined the effectiveness of the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency in the wake of several issues over the past year and a half, as well as concerns from residents across the state in response to those issues.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) today said people throughout Michigan deserve answers from the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency after a review letter from the federal government revealed problems in how UIA has operated.
The letter clearly shows the agency failed to notify nearly 700,000 people regarding changes in qualification for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for nearly six months. As early as Jan. 6, the federal government informed the state that multiple benefit qualification requirements were not in compliance with federal law.
As the Unemployment Agency attempted to bring Michigan into compliance, workers across the state were told they would have to fill out additional paperwork to determine if they were actually eligible for PUA and if they had to pay money back to the state.
This caused a great deal of unnecessary confusion and concern among residents, Johnson said. It also highlighted the agency’s struggles to assist people in need and the vulnerability of the agency to fraudulent payments.
“This was not a model of transparency and competence,” Johnson said. “It took UIA half a year to come into compliance. They also kept the public in the dark and misled a standing legislative committee. There was no communication while this was going on. They simply sent people letters after a while saying they may owe over $20,000. That’s not an effective way for a state agency to assist people. The public should have been made aware of this error in a timely fashion. The Legislature should have been made aware so they could work with constituents who were going to be caught in this and keep them informed.”
“I am calling on UIA Director Liza Estlund Olson to appear before the Oversight Committee to take us through this timeline and the decision-making involved. Her answers are very important to the many people who have come to legislators with questions about what is going on at the agency.”
House Oversight Committee Chair Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) today issued the following statement after it was announced that Julia Dale, director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, will replace acting director Liza Estlund Olson and serve as the director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency: “I recently called on the removal of the acting director […]
House Oversight Committee Chairman Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) today said a committee hearing on elevated lead levels in Benton Harbor’s drinking water illuminated serious safety concerns for the community while the governor’s administration ignored pleas from city officials for more funding to help fix the problem.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) today said an update from the Office of the Auditor General on unreported COVID-19 deaths due to COVID-19 creates more questions going forward.
House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Steve Johnson talks about Thursday’s committee meeting that heard from Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy Director Liesl Clark and Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad on Benton Harbor’s lead-contaminated water. Rep. Johnson says he was concerned that it was only at the committee meeting that state officials said Benton […]