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unemployment fraud

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After wrongly accusing tens of thousands of people in Michigan of cheating on their unemployment benefits, the state is refunding $21 million to those Michiganders.

Attorney Jennifer Lord said that number is just “a drop in the bucket” of what the state has taken from those people, while Director of the Talent Investment Agency Wanda Stokes said the agency would do better in communicating with citizens and handling unemployment claims.

Amidst all of this, Zach Gorchow of Gongwer News Service has noted a conspicuous silence from one very important voice: Governor Rick Snyder.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims.
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The state has admitted it made a whopping mistake when it accused tens of thousands of Michiganders of cheating on their unemployment benefits.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency reviewed 62,784 cases where people were accused of fraud and hit with penalties.

In some 44,000 of those cases, that accusation was completely false – no fraud took place.

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The state of Michigan says it has reversed 70% of unemployment benefit fraud cases and is refunding $20.8 million after people were wrongly accused of collecting excessive benefits.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency announced the results of a review Friday. It reviewed more than 62,000 cases for people who were assessed a fraud penalty and did not seek an appeal. About 44,000 cases were reversed.

Michigan has been under fire for a computer system that wrongly churned out cases of fraud. Last month, it dropped criminal charges against 186 people.

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By now, it’s been widely reported that the state of Michigan’s unemployment insurance computer system wrongly alleged fraud against thousands of people who filed for unemployment benefits.

The mess is still being worked out. In  many cases, the state is resisting making the people it wronged whole.

A new report by Zach Gorchow, editor of the Gongwer News Service, indicates there were concerns about that computerized system going back to the early days of its implementation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement - or ICE - agents
U.S. Air Force / Creative Commons / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Ingham County Sheriff's Office announced this week it will no longer detain people at the request of immigration, without a judge's order. It says immigration violations are "civil, not criminal, in nature, and are between the individual and the U-S Government." The Wayne County Sheriff's Office has a similar policy in place. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether other counties will follow suit.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 


This week, the state of Michigan dropped charges and arrest warrants against 186 people — almost all of them Detroit residents — after accusing them of illegally collecting unemployment benefits. This group is among about 28,000 people the state wrongly accused of unemployment benefit fraud due to serious flaws in its automated fraud detection system.

Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, and Vicki Barnett, a former mayor of Farmington Hills and a former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside to discuss this week's political news.

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The state of Michigan is dropping charges and arrest warrants against nearly 200 people accused of illegally collecting unemployment benefits.

The warrants were issued against people who never showed up for court hearings after they were accused of defrauding the unemployment system. In many cases, the accused never knew they were charged with a crime.

The Michigan Talent Investment Agency asked for the arrest warrants to be dismissed because there’s a good chance the people accused actually didn’t do anything wrong.

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The Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed a lawsuit claiming the state wrongfully accused thousands of people of unemployment fraud.  

In 2013, the state started using an automated system to flag fraud cases. But the system wrongly identified tens of thousands of people – and some of them sued to get their money back, plus fees and interest.

But the court says they waited too long to file the lawsuit.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims.
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Attorneys for a number of people who say the state of Michigan wrongfully garnished their wages or seized their tax refunds hope an appeals court will rule quickly in their case.

Karl Williams says he’s one of tens of thousands of people who were wrongly accused of fraud by the state’s automated system for unemployment insurance.

The Lansing resident says the state is still garnishing his wages. He’s been working a ton of overtime to make ends meet.

income tax
ccPixs.com / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A proposal to get rid of Michigan's income tax is quickly moving along in the Legislature. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether the Republican-backed bill will go all the way.

They also discuss the action plan state House Republicans rolled out this week, the state Board of Education's call to hold off closing any schools this fall, and a planned set of bills to rectify the mess at the state Unemployment Insurance Agency. 

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims.
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A group of experts will try to figure out how a state computer glitch wrongly accused thousands of people of fraud.

 

Between October of 2013 and August of 2015, the agency’s processing system wrongfully accused tens of thousands of people of unemployment fraud. The agency had been almost exclusively relying on a computer program to determine unemployment fraud with very little human verification.

A full Senate vote on Besty DeVos' U.S. education secretary nomination is expected next week.
BetsyDeVos.com

Michigan is one of two states that don't apply public records laws to the governor's office and the Legislature. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and Michigan Radio senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry look at bills from a bipartisan group of lawmakers who want to expand the state's Freedom of Information Act.

(Support trusted journalism like this in Michigan. Give what you can here.)

They also talk about this week's settlement of a major lawsuit over the state's automated unemployment claims system, opposition to Betsy DeVos' nomination as U.S. education secretary, and former Snyder chief of staff Jarrod Agen's new job in the White House.

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This week, Republicans and Democrats in Lansing seem to agree that it’s time to expand the state’s open record laws to cover the governor and the Legislature. Michigan is one of only a couple states that don’t already require all lawmakers to be subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.

Ken Sikkema, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former Republican legislative leader, along with Vicki Barnett, a former Democratic legislator, joined Stateside and said it might not be smooth sailing to the governor's desk. 

Justice statue
Flickr user Jack / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency has settled a lawsuit over an automated claims processing system that falsely accused tens of thousands of people of fraud.

Between October 2013 and August 2015, the system kicked out more than 50,000 potential fraud cases. An initial state review of those cases found a 93% error rate. 

A lawsuit filed on behalf of the United Auto Workers union, Sugar Law Center and several individuals accused of fraud was dismissed Thursday under an agreement between the state and the plaintiffs.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims.
Bytemarks / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has wrongly accused tens of thousands of people of cheating on their unemployment claims. Then it began garnishing wages, and tax returns, often without the wrongly-accused person even knowing what he or she supposedly did.

The UIA's director has apologized for the errors. But the mistakes, pinned on a computer system, have had thunderous repercussions in homes all over Michigan.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A state official who's conducting a wide-ranging review of Michigan's embattled unemployment benefits office is apologizing for the fiasco that led at least 20,000 people to be falsely accused of fraud.

Talent Investment Agency Director Wanda Stokes adds that lawmakers should consider reducing the country's highest financial penalties for unemployment fraud.

She told The Associated Press that people affected are angry and she is, too. She says their plight "shouldn't have happened."