The roughly 650,000 Michigan residents who have been urged by the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency to “re-qualify” for unemployment benefits are unlikely to have to reimburse the state, the director said on Tuesday. acting agency.
This is because the state uses a waiver process authorized by the US Department of Labor, which allows states to waive overpayments when an individual is not at fault. The first waiver letters are expected to be sent by Monday, Liza Estlund Olson, acting director of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, said in an emailed statement.
“I want to be clear to every Michigander who did the right thing: no one who followed the rules and received no-fault benefits from them shouldn’t have to pay the federal government money back,” said the Michigan governor. , Gretchen Whitmer, in an email. declaration.
In late June, the agency informed claimants who had received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits – a federal program that expanded benefits to cover freelancers, contract workers and others who do not. would generally not qualify for regular state benefits – which they would have to “requalify” for benefits by answering a new set of questions.
The letter led to a flood of calls for help from unemployment lawyers, these lawyers say, with claimants confused by the requalification process for benefits on their state MiWAM accounts, and who feared to be forced to reimburse their services. .
He also implemented a plan by the chairman of the Michigan House Oversight Committee to launch an investigation into the state’s UIA.
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But the UIA and the governor call the requalification to keep the state in compliance with federal guidelines. Olson noted that another 42,000 claimants were also asked to re-qualify for benefits because they were initially denied PUA benefits, but who may now be eligible under three new questions added later by the department. American Labor.
Monday was the deadline for answering questions. Olson said if applicants do not answer these questions, the agency will review the information submitted and determine if the person is eligible for the PUA. If they are not eligible, the agency will complete the waiver process on their behalf.
Contact Adrienne Roberts: [email protected]