Broken: The human toll of Michigan's unemployment fraud saga

computer error
Jason Doss

Suburban Detroit resident Jason Doss has had more than $14,000 garnished from his pay: “It's like being robbed.”  (Bridge photo by Brian Widdis)

A few days after a federal judge issued a Jan. 11 order commanding the state to “suspend all collection activity” against thousands of Michigan workers tagged with unemployment fraud, Jason Doss checked his bank account.

It was business as usual.

Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency, as it has for nearly two years, was still taking one fourth of his Ford Motor Co. paycheck citing unemployment fraud. It seized $212.57 on Jan. 17. It took $196.91 the following week. It claimed yet another $196.36 last week, on Feb. 3 -- a day after the state settled a federal lawsuit by agreeing to sweeping reforms of the agency’s error-filled fraud identification system.

To date, UIA has taken more than $14,000 from Doss' checks. And the settlement notwithstanding, the agency says he still owes nearly $70,000, which includes a penalty of more than $62,000 and over $7,000 in interest. Doss is among a flood of workers who insist they were incorrectly accused of fraud by a rogue state computer, never told the precise nature of what they had done wrong, and were never given a chance to defend their actions before their paychecks were garnished. An internal state review of more than 20,000 fraud claims showed a 93 percent computer error rate.

Doss, 37, a soft-spoken suburban Detroit resident who keeps meticulous records of every penny the state has taken, tries to curtail his rage every time he looks at the money taken from his checks.

“If I dwell on it, I could go crazy. It's like being robbed,” Doss said, seated at his dining room table, scanning a printout of every check the state has taken.

“If I dwell on it, I could go crazy. It's like being robbed.” -- Jason Doss, a Detroit-area worker who said he was wrongly accused of fraud

Doss is one of four Michigan workers ensnared in the state’s unemployment benefits fraud debacle who agreed to talk to Bridge Magazine about the toll it has taken on their lives. A suburban Detroit woman declared bankruptcy. An Eaton County resident fell behind in his bills. A Washtenaw County electrician recounted his wife crying before Christmas after he was told he owed the state $13,000.

Doss said he has a bit more hope he might finally win back his money following last week’s announced settlement of a federal  lawsuit that accused the unemployment agency of saddling thousands of workers with bogus fraud charges, cases UIA says it’s now willing to review and, if warranted, reverse.  

But even that announcement would not end the anxiety felt by workers unfairly targeted. In a bizarre coda to the computer saga, the state reported Friday that a software glitch may have allowed some users of the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System -- or MiDAS -- to access the names and Social Security numbers of nearly 1.9 million workers whose payroll was processed by third-party vendors. That's nearly 40 percent of the state workforce.

UIA spokesman Dave Murray said the data breach and the UIA fraud mess, both tied to Colorado-based firm Fast Enterprises, are “very, very different issues.”

“Our No. 1 focus at the UIA is serving Michigan residents,” he said.

The federal lawsuit settlement binds UIA to an earlier agreement that the state would review each fraud case generated by the computer -- impacting some 40,000 workers -- and ensure workers get appropriate notice of the accusations and an opportunity to respond before the state starts collection efforts.  

The deal also ends the state’s heavily criticized practice of “income spreading,” in which claimants' occasional work earnings were treated by the computer system as having been earned across an entire quarter. Attorneys say the practice led the state to falsely conclude some workers were illegally getting paychecks during periods when they were also collecting unemployment insurance.  

For its part, the state agency is now acknowledging the potential scope of the damage. An agency internal review in December found that nearly 21,000 workers – 93 percent of the cases reviewed – had been falsely accused of fraud over a 22-month period.

David Blanchard, lead attorney for the lawsuit, said he is “heartened by new leadership who finally acknowledge the problem and recognize that this settlement is this first step, but not the last step, of essential reform to the UIA.”

“We’re glad to bring this matter to a close,” said Wanda M. Stokes, director of the Talent Investment Agency, which oversees the UIA, in a statement after the suit was settled. Stokes, named to the post last July, recently told the Associated Press she was angered by the agency’s failures and that damage done to workers “shouldn’t have happened.”

Royal Oak attorney Jennifer Lord, who leads a separate lawsuit seeking class-action status in state court against UIA, called the agreement “an important and positive first step forward.” That lawsuit seeks recovery of garnished wages, penalties and interest as well as other monetary damage caused by false fraud findings.

But Lord said there remain “many outstanding issues,” including ongoing garnishments of workers’ paychecks, like those cited by Doss, and the state's failure to account for money that may have been wrongly seized from workers in 2016.

“Government by spreadsheet does not work,” Lord said.  

For Jason Doss, the cuts into his paycheck continue. The federal court order from January halting fraud collections gave the state 45 days to comply. So Doss continues to check his bank account every week to see when his garnishment might finally end.

Even today, Doss said he remains at a loss about what he is accused of doing wrong.

Doss said he learned he was being penalized for fraud only after he discovered that first garnished check in March 2015. The garnishment appears to be for unemployment payments he received relating to a manufacturing job six years ago – payments that he had already litigated against UIA before a (live, not computer) administrative law judge and won on appeal.

“I looked online and it said: 'Your wages are subject to garnishment by the Unemployment Insurance Agency Plaintiff Benefit Enforcement Unit.' It said I owed $84,000.

“I thought, 'There must be a mistake. They will fix it.'”

“You really feel like a victim. They go after the working people and that isn't right.” -- Sterling Heights resident Nancy DeRocco

Doss said he had closed out his UIA account years ago after returning to work, so he would have missed any notice of fraud posted there. He said he got no notice through the mail, even though he updated his address each time he moved.

“I called five or 10 times before I got through. Then I was on hold for 45 minutes. They transferred me three times. All they could tell me was, 'You owe $84,000,'” he said.

Doss and his wife, Syretta, 33, are expecting their first child in August. He scratches to make mortgage payments, grateful that his mortgage loan allows him an extra 15 days each month before he's considered delinquent. He said the $14,000 in pay that was diverted to the state has left him behind in putting money away for the future.

“You want to provide for your family and your child and right now I really can't do that. It's put a toll on my life and marriage.”

At the center of the controversy is the $47-million MiDAS computer system the state installed in 2013 to streamline unemployment fraud detection. That was a year after after UIA laid off 400 full- and part-time employees - a third of its workforce. In essence, the computer system and its algorithms replaced human beings, presiding as judge and jury over tens of thousands of unemployment cases.

As the system’s errors emerged, the agency’s decision to automate the fraud detection process has cast MiDAS as another example of Gov. Rick Snyder's efforts to make government more efficient having gone horribly wrong. UIA itself boasted in 2014 that the system “is now more responsive and efficient with its customers, thus, creating a greater sense of service-level trust.”

While undeniably more efficient, the computer and the state agency that ran it by all accounts appear to have been singularly unresponsive to the tsunami of complaints and desperate phone calls that poured into UIA after fraud notifications or collections went out to bewildered workers across Michigan.

According to the state lawsuit, a training guide for the new computer system noted its unchecked authority to determine fraud: “Regardless of the manner in which the information is gathered,  maintained, or processed, all UI functions are ultimately performed by MiDAS.”

Michigan’s unemployment system, which pays out $1.7-billion in benefits a year, is funded by taxes on employers for workers who are laid off and meet state standards for length of employment and earnings.

By the numbers

Unemployment fraud cases in Michigan soared after the installation of an automated fraud processing system in late 2013 .

2009: 2,822

2010: 4,318

2011: 9,371

2012: 10,535

2013: 7,164

2014: 23,385

2015: 25,472

Source: University of Michigan analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data

Thanks to MiDAS, fraud cases soared, more than tripling, from 7,164 in 2013 to 23,385 in 2014 and 25,472 in 2015.

While the agency promised a “greater sense of service-level trust,” complaints streamed into unemployment lawyers not long after the system went live, as claimants said they never heard from the agency before they got notice that they owed the state tens of thousands of dollars.

Critics draw parallels to the Flint water crisis, where residents protested discolored and foul-tasting water for more than a year before the state took action to combat dangerously high lead levels in the drinking water. In this case, UIA ignored complaints for months from thousands of people filing unemployment claims who were hit by findings of fraud.

“I do see some similarities with Flint,” said Steve Gray, a University of Michigan assistant law professor and an expert in unemployment procedure and law.

“I had unnamed agents (within UIA) telling me back in 2014 there is a problem with the computer making these decisions. They weren't getting anywhere inside the agency.”

In 2015, Gray co-wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor voicing concern that that MiDAS was subjecting “significant numbers of innocent claimants to unjust fraud charges.”

Making matters worse, the workers say, is that Michigan's penalties for unemployment fraud are the harshest in the country. UIA typically assesses a penalty of four times the principal owed, on top of interest charges. No other state imposes such a stiff penalty.

Because the state used MiDAS to review cases as far back as 2007, many workers say they had no reason to believe the state was raising questions about benefits paid years earlier. According to the state lawsuit, the state’s initial finding of potential fraud was often posted to claimants' UIA web accounts long after their benefits expired – and therefore long after they had reason to check their account.

Under MiDAS, lawyers for the workers say, innocent misstatements on claim forms were treated like intentional deception. Lord noted, for instance, that one form filled out by claimants asked them why thought they were entitled to benefits. One of the seven options was: “I needed the money.” According to Lord, those who checked that box were automatically slotted as fraudulent.

According to Gray, the UM professor, any discrepancy between an employer and worker regarding earning amounts, earning dates and whether a worker quit, was fired or was laid off, could prompt MiDAS to issue a fraud finding, even absent deliberate deception.

Gray said that claimants receiving a fraud notice typically had no idea what they allegedly did wrong, making it impossible for them to defend the payments. The notice simply stated their “overpayment”-- the amount in benefits for which UIA says they were not entitled, their penalty, interest and balance due. They would get the same, unspecific answer if they reached out to UIA staffers.

It was like falling into a bureaucratic black hole.

Robert Nevins

Eaton County resident Robert Nevis won back $6,000 in garnished wages from the state. (Bridge photo by Ted Roelofs)

Seated at a kitchen table in his rural home some 50 miles south of Lansing, Robert Nevins, 37, said he was unaware UIA pegged him for fraud until he checked his bank account one day last year.

Nevins, who operates heavy equipment for the city of Lansing, deposits his check automatically into three accounts, one of them a rainy day fund he only checks a couple times a year. UIA had already taken $4,000 from that account and it was knocking down his biweekly take-home pay from $1,000 to about $650. He found out the agency wanted more than $21,000.

“That's a big chunk of money,” he said.

Like many others, Nevins said he had no clue what this was about. A construction worker by trade, Nevins estimated he has applied for unemployment a dozen times over the years, as construction workers are often laid off from fall until spring.

“I have never had a problem with it before,” Nevins said.

He said he never even considered cheating the system. “I could do work under the table, like snowplowing, but I don't want to mess it up so I don't do that,” he said.

Nevins got in touch with Blanchard, the Ann Arbor-based lawyer and lead attorney for the 2015 federal lawsuit aimed at halting the state's unemployment fraud initiative.

As he waited for his hearing, Nevins said, his diminished income became a burden. “I fell behind in my bills. If I worked overtime, they were just taking more out of my check.”

A man of few words, Nevins summed up his feelings like this: “Anger, pretty much.”

In December, a Lansing administrative law judge ruled in Nevins' favor and ordered the state to return $6,000 in wage garnishments while wiping out all interest and penalties. While he's grateful Blanchard took his case, it cost him $2,000 in legal fees.

Not surprisingly, the experience, he said, eroded his trust in state government.

As further proof, Nevins pulled from the top of his refrigerator a letter from UIA he said he received just before his hearing. It was mailed to his address but it had a different individual's name at the top and an employer Nevins said he never heard of. It was another fraud finding.

“It makes you wonder what is going on,” he said. “It's very shady.” .

Nancy DeRocco

Sterling Heights resident Nancy DeRocco filed for bankruptcy because of garnished wages. (Bridge photo by Ted Roelofs)

By the fall of 2015, things reached a breaking point for Sterling Heights resident Nancy DeRocco.

A couple months earlier, the state began taking a quarter of DeRocco's paycheck from her job at a credit card processing company. UIA – after determining she committed unemployment fraud – had already taken more than $2,000 from her state and federal income tax refunds.

It said she owed more than $14,000 in principal, interest and penalties.

As she struggled to pay her bills, DeRocco applied for a hardship waiver.

UIA responded: “Your request for a waiver of repayment of overpayment accounts due to financial hardship has been reviewed and indicates your overpayment account was established due to fraud, and therefore cannot be waived.”

At that point, DeRocco, 44, said she felt she had no choice but to turn to bankruptcy.

“I was barely making it. The garnishment put me right over the edge,” DeRocco said.

She filed for bankruptcy in October 2015 and got what could be considered a break – in February 2016, the court knocked down her balance of $11,933.57 to just over $3,300 and ordered her to send $200 a month to UIA. Thus far, she has paid $2,600.

DeRocco said she still has no idea what she did wrong. DeRocco showed a visitor a thicket of UIA communications on her UIA web portal that she said she never saw before she learned UIA found her guilty of fraud. She said she discovered that only after finding out her state and federal taxes were being seized.

UIA documents show DeRocco's fraud finding stems from UIA's conclusion she was overpaid about $3,000 in benefits in 2012 – a finding that ballooned to more than $14,000 with interest and penalties.

“I couldn't understand who the heck was taking my taxes,” she said.

Lord, the Royal Oak lawyer, said it can be difficult even for lawyers to discern the basis for agency fraud findings. “We are still scratching our heads trying to figure out how she was flagged with fraud,” Lord said of DeRocco.

“There is absolutely no evidence that she intentionally deceived anyone. She was certainly never told what, if anything, the agency claimed that she did wrong. It is fundamentally unfair to accuse someone like Ms. DeRocco of something as serious as fraud without an iota of factual support.”

In 2016, DeRocco contacted Lord’s law firm, hopeful she might recover some of the $5,420 she has lost to the state thus far. But if the state suit  prevails, DeRocco may not be able to recoup the $3,300 she is ordered to pay through her bankruptcy because those could be considered voluntary payments.

“You really feel like a victim,” DeRocco said. “They go after the working people and that isn't right.”

Kevin Grifka

Washtenaw County resident Kevin Grifka, who had $8,500 in federal income tax seized, won his case against Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency. (Courtesy photo)

Not long before Christmas 2014, union electrician Kevin Grifka opened a letter from Michigan's UIA. It said the Washtenaw County resident was guilty of unemployment fraud and owed nearly $13,000. It was, he said, the first he heard of any problems.

“We had just bought presents for the kids and we were wondering, 'Do we have to take it all back?' You see your wife crying before Christmas and it's tough,” Grifka, 39, recalled.

Grifka was sure he had done nothing wrong, so he set out to remedy things. He had been laid off in February 2014, collected benefits for a few months and then returned to work. “I had all my pay stubs, the layoff notice from my union that showed no gross earnings from the time I was off. I had all the proof.”

He said he went to the UIA office in Lansing three times, speaking to three different staffers. All his documentation did no good.

“They said, 'You got to fill out this paperwork. They might look at it,'” Grifka recalled.

Grifka said he was sufficiently angry to call Gov. Rick Snyder’s office and asked to speak with the governor.

“You don't get very far with that. They said that's not going to happen. They say, “Here's a phone number to the unemployment agency and outside of that you are on your own.”

Asked about Grifka’s account, Snyder spokesman Ari Adler said: “When constituents call in seeking help with a problem, our first priority is to find the best way to get them the help they need. In a case like this one, that would mean transferring the call to a UIA representative who is assigned to specifically help the Governor’s Office when calls come in.”

In 2015, according to Grifka, the state seized his entire 2014 federal tax return of about $8,500. He, too, turned to Blanchard.

According to the federal suit, Grifka was a classic example of the MiDAS system’s arbitrary – and faulty – computer algorithms. The suit states Grifka earned $9,407.13 during the time before his layoff and received no work earnings the rest of the 13-week quarter. But the suit stated the computer took the amount he earned while working and then wrongly allocated that pay over the entire quarter -- so-called “income spreading.”  

“If any human being had looked at his file at any time during this process, they could easily have seen their error and corrected it,” the suit stated.

Grifka was out of the state in the summer of 2015 when he got a call from his sister.

“She said, 'There are six or seven checks here,'” Grifka said. The state had caved, he said, returning everything they claimed he owed.

Grifka said he expected better from government. Among other things, he still resents the treatment he said he received the day he called Snyder's office. “You are not just the governor,” he said, “you are my employee.”

About The Author

Ted Roelofs

Ted Roelofs is a Bridge contributor based in Grand Rapids. He can be reached here.

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Comments

Ari Adler
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 8:24am

Since Bridge didn't use all of my quote about the call to the Governor's Office, which is important because of the context it provides, I am posting it here. When asked about the phone call, I wrote back: "When constituents call in seeking help with a problem, our first priority is to find the best way to get them the help they need. In a case like this one, that would mean transferring the call to a UIA representative who is assigned to specifically help the Governor’s Office when calls come in. That is because the Governor’s Office would not have access to a person’s records and would not be able to help them with any specific questions or concerns. If the UIA employee’s number is busy, the caller would be sent to voicemail at the UIA. We are told that those calls are returned in the order received within 2 business days. The Governor and his senior leadership team are kept apprised of issues that are handled by the Constituent Relations Division."

Darla
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 10:36am

But here's the problem - you are treating the smaller problem, not the larger problem. If you approach the caller as an issue to be dealt with and overlook the fact that he's out a substantial portion of his income, therefore devastating his family, it's not a very effective way to communicate with the constituent. Also, there is no indication that the constituent was told that the problem was systemic, which your office must have known. You could have at least given him the small piece of mind that the issue is being addressed at an administrative level. Your office's apparent lack of humanity is incomprehensible.

Kyle
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 1:27pm

So did you ever bother to call any of the constituents back and ask them if the UIA rep assigned to the Governors office actually called them and helped with there problem? Of course not. Gov. Snyder's office doesn't care about your problems, unless your last names Devos at least.

Aly
Thu, 02/09/2017 - 10:10am

Mr. Adler, please also take the person's name and number down and make sure someone from UIA follows up. People are STILL NOT getting phone calls back within 48 hours.

Jan
Sat, 02/11/2017 - 4:08am

But they are probably calling you because they are not getting satisfactory resolution to their problems from the lower departments. So, you've put the caller is back to zero on their issue with the "company" you run.

Barbara
Sun, 02/12/2017 - 9:17am

So what? That lets you off the hook? Really?

Rick
Sun, 02/12/2017 - 9:19am

Mr. Adler - you (and our worthless state AG) have ignored Rick Snyder's transfer (stealing) of the UIA money to boost the general fund. Instead of realizing that the money very likely belongs to those who applied for UIA and not touching it Snyder did just the opposite.

Criminal is only way to describe it. I live in Ann Arbor and if I see Rick in town I plan to tell him (loudly) that this actions are criminal and that he should move somewhere else.

Judy
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 9:10am

Not only should these victims have their money returned, they should receive sizable punitive damages from the state. What happened was reprehensible, and -- like Flint -- demonstrated assumptions among policy-makers that some groups are not worth paying attention to. In the case of Flint, blacks were ignored. In the case of the unemployment claims, it was the poor, those down on their luck. We should be deeply ashamed.

Anonymous
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 1:19pm

Yes. Absolutely.
Will that happen? NO. Our legislature only listens to the lobbyists of the businesses and wealthy (DeVos, etc.). They could care less about the little people - the citizens of the state of Michigan. We don't count or matter.
And our AG? NOTHING. As usual.

sammelvin
Thu, 03/09/2017 - 9:12am

De Does due care about little people ,it is the little people that fall for there "become erich like me.and live off the little people like in AMWAY.you /me invest our money and they rep All the money and can retire .while you are deeper in ..debt!.been there done that!

Dorothy Felton
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 10:32am

This hurts employers as well. The issue is that our employees come to us with questions of "why" they have been disqualified etc. or why they checks are being guaranteed. We as employers have no answers because we can't get through to a "living breathing human being" either. Due to our business we are not happy to have occasional lay offs however we may have an occasional week here and there. For instance my employees come with questions as to why they were denied UIA or have to pay it back. I have no answers for our hard working employees that have their financial lives interrupted with no explanation. Sometimes I receive notices weeks later that explain that our employee was disqualified because they didn't call in on the proper day (which they did), or that they were disqualified or have to reimburse the STATE for not looking for work even though they were only laid off for one week and we knew they were coming back the following week.
We formally had a local UIA office. and had a working relationship as an employer we could inform the UIA local office that we were calling back in a week and they would not interrupt our employees claims.
But of course our local UIA office closed in an effort to streamline for better service. If our employees want to dispute anything or prove to the UIA that they are innocent our employees have to drive (depending on where they live) 50 or 60 miles one way to stand in line on a first come first basis. This absolutely shameful treatment our employed Michigan citizens. In an effort to streamline, mistakes have happened and there is no one on their side from the State. I hear from our employees if they do try to call that sometimes it takes hours on the telephone to finally get to someone that cannot assist in the end. Or if they make an entry error on line there is not an opportunity to correct it after the fact. I get the feeling that all the UIA State workers assume our employees are guilty of fraud first and foremost which isn't true at all! I think the State should reimburse all these employees in your article plus interest! And a sincere apology from the Governor is expected but not likely.

John S.
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 10:57am

If there's upside to the Snyder administration, it's providing numerous case study materials for public administration scholars on the topic of "bureaucratic failure." Republicans have a strong dislike of bureaucracy. So they favor contracting out. If there are a sufficient number of people in state government who are familiar with contracting and up to the difficult job of monitoring contractor performance, it can work. The Snyder administration is not up to the job. As yet another example, the state contracts with a company in Georgia to produce State ID cards and this company can't even get the job done in a month's time. Sure, let's run government like a business. There are often good reasons why state government should have in place experienced, able, and public spirited civil servants to do its work.

John Saari
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 11:40am

Another government failure. I see a jury trial.

Rick
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 2:15pm

Another Republican government failure. They do everything they can to make sure government fails. It's called sabotage.

Like the US Post Office - saddle it with retirement debt that NO other organization in the country was forced to bear AND then when the USPS has to cut services, etc. then the Republicans claim it's a failure of government. It's a failure of the Republican version of government.
Funny how they never say anything about Enron, Comcast, Bank of America and those real failures...

samelvin
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 7:47pm

in METRO TIMES July 7,2016rea the Fine that has to be payed and how the courtsytem and the lawyer for over 2 years have know about this frats but not doing anything about It,it is the computer fall.Government has collated over $68 million in private account.people have kill themselves over this ..READ METRO TIMES july 7,2016 iusse!

Ann Farnell
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 8:53pm

I am glad to see this is finally getting some attention. It's costing taxpayers plenty. I read last year that there are so many cases on appeal that the courts have hired two hundred additional judges and they are still thousands of cases behind. The Snyder administration screw ups are beyond belief.

Moogie Jones
Tue, 02/07/2017 - 9:40pm

I truly believe most of the MiGOP hates most of the people of Michigan, and wish them to suffer.

sammelvin
Thu, 03/09/2017 - 9:17am

The 2020 Census is coming up.where all the little people are counted, and michigan government will need everyone of us so they can get more money from washington .No people no money!

Linda hart
Wed, 02/08/2017 - 10:09am

I hope the State of MI will be required to pay interest and similar penalty monies back to all who were unjustly affected.

sammelvin
Thu, 03/09/2017 - 9:25am

sammelvin How much is a live worth! the person that killed themselves under this pressure
and under Gov.R Snyders watch?

Connie
Fri, 02/10/2017 - 12:00am

I am so disgusted by this. After the Flint water crisis, I didn't think our State government could stoop any lower, but here it is. An expensive computer program purchased from an out-of-state company, replaces real human workers (eliminating jobs for Michigan workers) and finds a 93% fraud rate, then charges these people penalties and interest that are ridiculous and does not provide them a way to defend themselves. I hope these people get back everything they have had taken from them with damages. As a Michigan resident , I am considering moving because the extra taxes I will have to pay to cover all the wrong doing of our government is something I am not willing to do.

Mary fox
Fri, 02/10/2017 - 8:26pm

And yet the vote republican

Paul Jordan
Sun, 02/12/2017 - 7:19am

This might seem like an accident, but it isn't really. The state tried to replace human beings and human judgement with computer algorithms. Despite constitutional requirements for due process, because the victims didn't have any particular political or financial clout their due process rights were unimportant.
The financial penalty to the state should be clear to anyone--impose the same penalty on the state as the state erroneously imposed on its victims: Four times the amount of its 'mistake', plus interest.

Barbara
Sun, 02/12/2017 - 9:20am

It seems that the process is a natural one for an accountant, which I understand Snyder is. Just not a good fit for a job that requires more complex thinking, apparently.

Sam Burt
Thu, 03/02/2017 - 12:12pm

I agree, I intend to keep fighting, I got as far as a court hearing with my appeal when they intercepted my families tax return a couple of years ago, I had already moved to UT by the time I found out that there was any dispute in money I had recieved, they quickly sent a check for the full amount they had taken and then removed all the penalties ( over $10.000) and I am left to pay over $2.000 plus interest that they put on every month despite me making payments, next time I appeal I will hopefully make it to court to get back what they have taken.

chester marx
Sun, 02/12/2017 - 5:43pm

should have been named, GIGO, garbage in garbage out

Joel
Sun, 02/19/2017 - 4:51pm

I went thru the same thing, Almost a year after I received my last check UIA sent me a letter stating I owed them $650 in over payment. After calling them numerous times and not being able to talk to anyone I tried to understand the letter they sent me. You needed a law degree to try and understand what it said. I finally got ahold of someone at another number and all I could do was set up monthly payments. About a couple months after this The local news station in Grand Rapids started an investigation into the matter.

Sam Burt
Thu, 03/02/2017 - 12:06pm

I am in the same boat, I do think that we should still see what we can do about this, if an investigation is open, the more that come forward the better, I am going to appeal again, and as many times as it takes to get this sorted out, I hope you will too, the rate they are applying interest in my case means it is unlikely I will ever get it paid off.

Robert McCloy
Sun, 02/19/2017 - 10:03pm

We need the name of the software provider, how they won the contract (was there an open bidding process), and how much have they have "contributed" (I.e. Bribed) $nyder and the MI republican$.

Sam Burt
Thu, 03/02/2017 - 12:00pm

This has happened to me too, I had no idea the UIA had come to the conclusion that payments I had received were considered an over payment as I had a job they knew about but only as a substitute position, they said I voluntarily quit this job because I didn't keep up with my certification of the job requirements even though I was never told about any of this by my employer and the employer just hadn't the hours to give me, they intercepted our tax return the year before last, saying I owed $10.000 and that I had not responded to any of their correspondence so they considered it was fraud! The thing is they never sent any mail to my address only an email to my MIWAM unemployment account that I used while on unemployment, seen as I had been off unemployment for a year of course I had no reason to login to that account anymore, and that's where they were sending me notices saying I had been over paid, I disputed it and they took off the penalties but I am still left to pay over $2.000 and the interest they apply means I will probably never get it paid as they keep adding to it. I was entitled to the payments I recieved from them and have appealed but to no avail, so I am left paying off this debt, it was my first ever time on unemployment and the stress of the aftermath has me praying it will have been a first and last time too! We had moved to UT and my payments had already stopped from unemployment before then, my supervisor messaged me in Utah and said " hey you know you are still employed here right lol?!" proving I hadn't quit my job, I proved end at proof to UIA and all they did was take off the penalties, such a mess, and a burden, I hope they get what they deserve and have to pay every penny they have taken from us back, I doubt I will have much hope as I've fought it a few times, but I wish others the best of luck and hope that the UIA are not allowed to get away with this, the emotional stress it causes is terrible, and the interest makes them profit 10 fold!!!

Keith
Wed, 03/08/2017 - 7:31pm

Where is our illustrious governor in all of this . Or the republicans who were the masterminds behind yet another fiasco in " runnig the state like a business " BS . If a business ran like these clowns run the state it would be bankrupt do to the law suits for fraud and negligence . If this how abusiness man operates a state no man with business experince should ever be allowed to run for any elected seat .

sammelvin
Thu, 03/09/2017 - 9:00am

Good Story<but the legal system failed to correct this matter at the first happing:
THE COURT on 8 MILE outside of Detroit.Attorney David Blanchard "meet"with client and
Administration Judge Raymond Sewell'''a Judge for the Administrative Hearing System..
A $ 9000 penalties???for ouver 2 years they have know that this system was wrong and did nothing to correct "IT"While citizen even killed them self in /over this injustice>
MIDAS has collected $ 63 million ..more read MetroTimes July 7 2016

Chester Marx
Mon, 04/03/2017 - 10:11am

A bankruptcy atty noted that our AG Shutte, was going after folks post bankruptcy. Making sure they would never repair from the State's vengeance for perceived corruption.