Michigan State Senator Ed McBroom (R-Waucedah Township) on Friday pledged to utilize the state legislature’s oversight committees to investigate the mistakes of the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).
McBroom, who serves as the chair of the Senate Oversight Committee, promised a joint hearing with his counterparts in the Michigan House.
The announcement from McBroom follows a report from the auditor general that detailed “inaction by UIA’s senior leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a poor control environment.”
“Tens of thousands of hardworking Michigan residents were forced out of their jobs last year by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 executive orders and were legitimately, if not reluctantly, forced to seek unemployment assistance as they struggled to provide for their families during an incredibly difficult time. It is unconscionable that the state Unemployment Insurance Agency, which exists solely to help unemployed workers, failed so spectacularly despite explicit guidance and warnings from the federal Department of Labor,” McBroom said in a statement.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the state agency unloaded $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.
Approximately 347,437 of the 648,100 individuals who received the letter from UIA are now deemed to be ineligible for benefits.
“I appreciate Auditor General Doug Ringler and his staff for conducting such a thorough and illuminating audit of the UIA. The Senate and House oversight committees will be holding a joint hearing in the near future to learn more about what happened and to address the longstanding structural problems that exist within the agency to ensure something like this never happens again,” McBroom continued.
— — —