LANSING, Michigan (WLUC) – Michigan lawmakers are considering how to move forward after an investigation found the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency had distributed billions of dollars in benefits to fraudulent actors.
Now the bipartisan Senate and House of States oversight committees are determining how to move forward. According to a Deloitte report, the UIA has mismanaged around $ 8.5 billion in unemployment benefits.
After meeting to discuss this issue for the first time in November 2021, the oversight committees met on Thursday to side with the UIA and determine the way forward. “How can we be reassured that we are no longer going down these paths, or that we are actually going to make real progress in the future?” Said Michigan (R) 38th State District Senator Ed McBroom unemployed Insurance agency.
Deloitte’s investigation, which began in November 2021 and was published in December 2021, estimates that the UIA paid $ 8.5 billion to two types of fraudulent actors. Impostor fraudsters and intentional misrepresentation. “Fraud by impostor has been estimated at [cost us] $ 2.7 to $ 2.8 billion [which was] paid from March 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020, ”said Julia Dale, director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency.
Impostor fraud refers to people who file claims with a stolen identity, while intentional misrepresentation refers to those who have filed claims using their own identity, but misled the UIA about their employment history. loss of wages. Deloitte estimates that the UIA paid between $ 5.6 billion and $ 5.7 billion to people who intentionally made false statements.
Both groups profited from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) law, a $ 2.2 trillion economic stimulus package enacted by Congress in March 2020 that paid pandemic unemployment benefits to those who qualified. .
The UIA believes that the unemployment system is lagging behind technologically and needs to be updated to prevent this from happening again. “[We need to] upgrade our technology so that we have a more responsive and better equipped system to help us the next time there is an unemployment crisis, ”Dale said.
The joint oversight committee, however, says the UIA does not appear to be concerned about mismanaged payments. “$ 9 billion incorrectly paid, [and the Unemployment Insurance Agency has] press releases that instead say, “We deserve a pat on the back because it could have been worse, and it wasn’t our money anyway,” Senator McBroom said.
The joint committee has not yet taken a legal decision concerning the UIA. Going forward, bipartisan lawmakers plan to work with their legal counsel to bring former UIA Director Steve Gray to testify for his alleged role in mismanaged payments.
The Deloitte survey is available by clicking on this link.
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