House Oversight Committee Chair Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) today said findings from the state Auditor General show the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency made key errors that prolonged confusion and anxiety for many throughout Michigan as they tried to get needed assistance.
The Auditor General disclosed that a variety of actions and inaction by UIA senior leadership during COVID-19 contributed to a poor control environment, which in turn led to the creation of a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) application and certification process that was not federally compliant.
Johnson has held House Oversight Committee hearings on the issue and identified that the agency failed to notify nearly 700,000 people of the state error involving invalid PUA qualification. In its report, the Auditor General also determined UIA continued to make improper eligibility determinations and related overpayments for nine months after the U.S. Department of Labor first notified the state of the problem.
“When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shut down people’s livelihoods across the state, there was a massive surge in unemployment claims. People needed benefits to pay bills and support their families,” Johnson said. “They needed a fast-acting, efficient agency so they could do that. But rampant ineptitude and ineffectiveness at the agency led to weeks and months of hardship for a tremendous amount of people.
“These findings provide concrete proof that a pivotal arm of Gov. Whitmer’s administration failed when people needed it most. This was a state mistake with their criteria, not a mistake made by claimants. Worse yet, UIA continued down a path they were told was incorrect. I am hopeful the agency can improve going forward in these areas so people can have a jobless agency that performs for them.”
The audit disclosed that almost $4 billion in overpayments were made due to the noncompliant eligibility criteria. From March 15, 2020 through Sept. 27 of this year, UIA paid nearly $39 billion in total unemployment insurance claims from 5.4 million claims and just over 3.4 million claimants. The PUA claims are included in the total figures.
The audit report is the first of a series on UIA claims processing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnson said the House Oversight Committee will continue to work with the agency and new director Julia Dale on effectiveness, while also reviewing additional reports from the Auditor General to provide needed accountability.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Johnson looks ahead to a joint hearing Tuesday, November 30, with his committee and the Senate Oversight Committee to hear from the Michigan Auditor General’s office on their report on the Unemployment Insurance Agency. Rep. Johnson says the UIA made almost $4 billion in overpayments during the pandemic and […]
House Oversight Committee Chair Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) today requested that the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) turn over any documents concerning COVID-19 citations given to the city of Port Huron that have not already been destroyed.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Johnson says that Thursday’s Auditor General’s report on almost $4 billion in overpayments by the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency during the pandemic reflect a failure by the Whitmer administration and ineptitude and ineffectiveness on the part of the UIA.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Steve Johnson (R-Wayland) today held a hearing with new state Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Julia Dale, as people throughout Michigan demand more efficiency and effectiveness from the struggling agency. Dale was formerly the director of the Department of Technology, Management and Budget before assuming the role of UIA director. “It’s important […]