Legislator calls on UIA not to charge residents for its own failures
State Rep. Pat Outman 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.
“After botching the eligibility questions, the unemployment agency decided to hide the error for six months before sending letters telling people forced out of work during the governor’s economic shutdown that they may be required to repay thousands of dollars that they’ve already spent,” said Outman, vice chair of the House Oversight Committee.
This week, several residents testified before the Oversight Committee about their situations and the amount of money the UIA has indicated they may have to repay. Some totals were as high as $27,000.
“The Whitmer administration has completely mishandled this entire situation,” said Outman, of Six Lakes. “Rather than keeping the public in the dark, the agency could have been transparent about the error and worked together with legislators to keep recipients informed. Instead, they created unnecessary confusion and panic. I’m committed to making this right and getting answers for the people of Montcalm and Gratiot counties.”
State Rep. Patrick Outman stands with Gratiot County Undersheriff Steven Sopocy at the state Capitol on Sept. 9, 2021. Outman hosted Sopocy at the Michigan House of Representatives’ annual ceremony commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
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