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Rep. Martin: Unemployment agency hid error for six months before notifying recipients
RELEASE|August 20, 2021
Contact: David Martin

Legislator calls on UIA not to charge residents for its own failures

State Rep. David Martin today said the people of Michigan deserve answers from the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency after a letter from the federal government revealed the state agency hid an error from the public for six months before recipients were notified.

As early as Jan. 6, the federal government told the state agency that multiple qualification requirements the state had developed were not in compliance with federal law. As a result of the error, the UIA sent letters in June informing nearly 700,000 people that they would be required to fill out additional paperwork to determine if they were truly eligible for the pandemic unemployment assistance they received. If not, the UIA says they may be required to pay money back to the state.

“The unemployment agency mishandled its paperwork and kept the public in the dark about the error for six months before sending hundreds of thousands of people confusing and concerning letters,” said Martin, of Davison. “People have already been put through enough. First, they were left jobless because of the governor’s shutdowns, then they were left waiting for weeks to collect unemployment checks, now they have to worry about whether the Whitmer administration’s is going to make them pay it back because of an administrative error. I will fight to make this right.”

This week, several residents testified before the Oversight Committee about their experiences and the amount of money the UIA has indicated they may have to repay. Some totals were as high as $27,000.

Next week, UIA Director Liza Estlund Olson has been asked to appear before the committee to explain the decision-making involved in keeping the error secret for six months.

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