Bills introduced to fix state unemployment agency - WNEM TV 5

Bills introduced to fix state unemployment agency

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Democratic lawmakers have introduced bills that will “restore lost income, fees and penalties to people falsely accused of unemployment fraud, improve the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) and hold accountable employers who fail to pay into the state’s unemployment fund.”

The move comes after investigations found the state made around 50,000 false accusations of unemployment fraud against 40,000 Michigan workers.

Of those, 93 percent have been found to be false.

The UIA also leaked personal information of nearly 2 million people.

Lawmakers report that the problems with the UIA date back to at least 2012 when an audit found that the agency had failed to hold employers who didn’t pay their unemployment taxes accountable.

According to Michigan’s Department of Talent and Workforce Development, which oversees the UIA, the agency falsely accused tens of thousands of Michiganders of fraud, costing them not only benefits, but fees and penalties as well.

The average victim was out thousands of dollars.

The legislative package includes bills intended to:

Assist Workers Harmed by False Fraud Allegations and Data Breaches

  • Reimburse costs incurred by victims of false fraud allegations, including lost benefits, fees, penalties, legal fees, late fees and other expenses. Expand the statute of limitations on claims related to false fraud allegations against the UIA to include people harmed between Jan. 1, 2007, to Dec. 31, 2016. Require state departments that compromised citizens’ personal information to help victims of identity theft.

Fix the Unemployment Insurance Agency

  • Make Michigan’s unemployment benefits comparable to other Midwestern states by restoring the maximum duration of benefits to 26 weeks, increasing the weekly maximum benefits to $483 plus an additional $120 for claimants with children, and indexing the benefit the cost of inflation. Reduce penalties assessed to fraudulent claimants to a maximum of 100 percent.

Hold Employers Accountable

  • Increase the penalty to employers that are more than 30 days late with unemployment tax payments by 100 percent.

?Sarah Anderson, Communications Director for the Michigan Republican Party says "While the Democrats are content to try to score political points, legislative Republicans are working on solutions and doing so in a bipartisan fashion.  Representative Joe Graves has already formed a work group, comprised of members from both parties, that also includes members from the business community."

Mobile users, click here for a full description of the bill package.

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