Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Neyer: House should prioritize needed reforms following latest UIA audit report
RELEASE|January 3, 2024
Contact: Jerry Neyer

State Rep. Jerry Neyer today called for action this year on legislative reforms House Republicans have sponsored to ensure government programs are efficient and transparent for both people who use them and taxpayers who help fund them.

Michigan’s nonpartisan Office of the Auditor General recently released its fifth and final audit of the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency – examining fraud and improper payments perpetuated by a key department within Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The audit into the Investigations Division at UIA found that between January 2020 and October 2022, the agency failed to attempt to identify a large share of imposter claims and fell short in recovering many payments and penalties. The report revealed another $245.1 million in potentially improper payments to ineligible individuals. The UIA did not identify or act to evaluate whether the payments were appropriate.

“The reports crystallize troubling instances where the state fell short,” said Neyer, of Shepherd. “Unfortunately, the people who paid most dearly for these failures were those who needed benefits but were not able to receive them in timely fashion, as well as job providers who were expected to pay into this system only to see that money be wasted away on fraudulent claims. 

“These failures are unacceptable and a clear example of government waste. We need real reforms so that people aren’t let down again.”

Neyer said the audits show a clear need to act on legislation that reforms the unemployment agency, increases transparency, prevents fraud, and improves customer service for both unemployed workers seeking benefits and the employers who pay taxes into the unemployment system. The plans – House Bills 4369-74 – give people a layer of accountability and transparency they didn’t have previously and protect taxpayers.

Neyer said addressing the state’s failing UIA – which had encountered problems even before the large-scale failures that arose during COVID-19 – is something that should be a bipartisan priority as the House returns in January.

“This requires legislative action and protections being put into law for the people,” Neyer said. “People have heard promises from UIA before about improving things and the agency has continued to be plagued by problems. People are calling on their elected officials to act. The Legislature needs to do it.”

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