Feds getting involved in Michigan unemployment agency issues

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DETROIT, Mich. - Our FOX 17 Problem Solvers investigation into the state's unemployment insurance agency is getting federal attention.

U.S. Representative Sander Levin is demanding the state respond to the thousands of people who have falsely been accused of fraud.

Alleged victims and attorneys with the Sugar Law Center joined Rep. Levin outside Detroit's Cadillac Place, where Governor Rick Snyder has an office.  Levin is calling on Gov. Snyder to investigate the thousands of potentially false fraud accusations levied against citizens who signed up for benefits and to refund those who had wages and tax returns wrongfully garnished.

A state audit showed that the majority of cases that went before a judge weren't fraud at all. An automated system known as MiDAS has come under fire for making decisions without human involvement. FOX 17 has been telling these stories for over a year now.

"You guys helped to unearth this," Levin told FOX 17 Problem Solver Darren Cunningham. "I think now the pressure is so much that the state is going to have to respond.  The federal government is into this now full blast."

The congressman wrote a letter to Snyder about the issue last week.  Levin said Snyder didn't respond, but Talent Investment Agency director Stephanie Comai did, saying:

The UIA has been in communication with the U.S. Department of Labor regarding the review of auto-adjudicated cases...and is finalizing details of the plan.  The agency has already initiated the review.  Where it is determined that an individual does not owe restitution, refunds will be issued.  We always want to make sure people are treated fairly.

Levin said is the state doesn't step up, Congress will.

 

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5 comments

  • Tanisha Atkins

    I’m writing because I am one of those individuals being falsely accused of fraud. The UIA has taken my tax refund two years in a row..And something needs to be done and they need to be accountable for what they are doing to people. I wrote News 8 two years ago about this problem and they never responded . I’m so happy Fox 17 listened to the community and is helping to solve this problem.

  • Joshua Fulton

    Im also one of these individuals. Im being told that i quit my job. When there was and is proof that i was laid off and my job is still waiting for me. They refuse to contact my supervisor. They keep denying my appeals and now they want me to pay money back to them for doing EXACTLY what they told me to do. Is there someone i can contact to help with this mess?

  • Merrily Ohlsson

    I’m going through this as well. I collected unemployment after being laid off, I gave them accurate information, but years later they claimed I had collected more than I was supposed to. I never lied or hid any information and if I wasn’t supposed to receive what I did, why did they pay me in the first place? Now I’m facing wage garnishment and they’ve already intercepted two tax refunds. Who can I contact for help? I can’t afford an attorney.

  • Bradley R Riggs

    I am in a bind with the UIA as well. I fought as won a hearing case involving restitution and qualification for weeks of unemployment I certified for back in the latter portion of 2015. So, I have a court order from an ALJ to reverse the restitution and pay me for eligible benefits, which they have not done. What they have done, is claim that I owe restitution again; this time double the amount they originally wanted me to pay. So, I’ll probably have to take more time off work for another hearing just to have my court order honored. What a mess.