Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Thompson: Latest UIA audit report showcases money squandered, need for action
RELEASE|January 12, 2024

State Rep. Jamie Thompson has joined other legislators in calling for a House panel to urgently address concerning revelations regarding the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).

Michigan’s nonpartisan Office of the Auditor General recently released its fifth and final audit of the UIA – examining fraud and improper payments perpetuated by a key department within Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The audit into the Investigations Division at UIA found that between January 2020 and October 2022, the agency failed to attempt to identify a large share of imposter claims and fell short in recovering many payments and penalties. The report revealed another $245.1 million in potentially improper payments to ineligible individuals, including some who were deceased.

“This brings the estimated overpayments by UIA during the pandemic to over $8 billion – and $5.6 billion of that is due to suspected fraud,” said Thompson, of Brownstown. “This staggering misuse of dollars – in a system that hardworking people and job providers throughout our state pay into – is totally inexcusable. Instead of getting benefits to people who truly needed them during challenging times and government shutdowns, or helping fund critical services like local roads, public safety and schools throughout our communities, billions of dollars were needlessly wasted through fraud and ineptitude by state government. In many cases, this is money the state will never get back.

“Taxpayers who help fund state government and people I represent deserve action, answers and accountability for what has taken place.”

Thompson has signed onto a letter asking the House Ethics and Oversight Committee to explore the additional, massive amount of fraud that has been uncovered and why the agency continued to send tax dollars to individuals and entities that were taking advantage of Michigan’s most vulnerable. The committee has not met since June, even as additional details involving UIA have been disclosed.

Thompson said the audits show a clear need to act on legislation that reforms the unemployment agency, increases transparency, prevents fraud, and improves customer service for both unemployed workers seeking benefits and the employers who pay taxes into the unemployment system. In April of last year, House Republicans introduced House Bills 4369-74, which give people a layer of accountability and transparency they didn’t have previously and protect taxpayers. The bills have not yet received a hearing in the House Ethics and Oversight Committee.

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