Michigan’s Office of the Auditor General on Thursday released a report on the shortcomings of the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).
During the coronavirus pandemic, the state agency dished out $3.9 billion in overpayments of federal dollars to residents who did not qualify for the funds.
After the initial mistake, the agency sent out a letter to thousands of residents, which led to confusion and fear that they would have to repay the funds.
According to the report from the auditor general, “inaction by UIA’s senior leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a poor control environment.”
Furthermore, approximately 347,437 of the 648,100 individuals who received the letter from UIA are now deemed to be ineligible for benefits.
Critics of the state agency point to a larger trend that has appeared in Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.
“Today’s report confirms what hundreds of thousands of Michiganders already knew: Gretchen Whitmer’s UIA has unequivocally failed our state,” said Eric Ventimiglia, Executive Director for Michigan Rising Action. “As Whitmer was busy trying to build a national profile and ingratiating herself among the liberal elite in Washington, our unemployment system was imploding. It’s past time for Governor Whitmer to be held accountable for the many failures and scandals she oversaw at the UIA over the past two years.”
“The agency incompetently approved billions of dollars in ineligible benefits, and leaders in the administration sat on their hands long after they were aware of the error. Not only has the agency been slow to help unemployed workers filing for benefits, but it has also waited to correct its own mistakes. Gov. Whitmer’s administration must ensure the unemployment agency does its job efficiently and effectively,” added State Representative John Reilly (R-Oakland Township).
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