Michigan unemployment system designed to slow payments working all too well

(Shutterstock)

LANSING —  Michigan’s failure to promptly pay benefits to thousands of residents who lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic is driven in part by a computer system that state officials have known for years is faulty but failed to fix.

As Michigan’s economy collapsed in March, the state’s unemployment website crashed, phone lines clogged and a controversial computer system flagged one-third of all claims for fraud, 540,000 of 1.7 million.

That froze payments for weeks or months to jobless residents like Tonya Bosman, who said she tried to upload identity verification documents more than 30 times to prove she didn’t commit fraud.

“It was a nightmare,” said Bosman of Detroit, who lost her job as a server and had to ask for a rent extension after the state placed a “stop payment” order on her account. “My landlord just had to deal with it. I told him I had no control of my money.”

Unemployment agencies across the country have been overwhelmed by record claims and targeted by international fraud rings in recent months, but in Michigan, the pandemic has exposed longstanding issues the state could have fixed earlier, according to court records, federal data and expert interviews by Bridge Michigan and its reporting partner, Outlier Media. 

A big source of the problem, according to experts: The $52 million Michigan Integrated Data Automated System, known as MiDAS, a computer system designed to save money by flagging fraud, taking human review out of the unemployment claims process and using algorithms to identify “non-monetary issues” that end up delaying or invalidating claims.

“MiDAS was programmed to assume people were guilty, and because of that programming, when it’s needed, people aren’t getting their benefits,” said Tony Paris, an attorney for the Sugar Law Center in Detroit that has sued Michigan over its unemployment system.

The state and its vendors have refused to disclose those algorithms, but court records and legislative testimony show that as recently as March 10, a claimant who made a mistake during filing could be accused of fraud for choosing from a multiple choice menu a seemingly innocuous explanation when seeking unemployment benefits: “I needed the money.”

Other possibly innocent flags the state has used include addresses that are close together geographically or groups of applicants with similar birthdays, according to contracts and court documents. 

The system also routinely flags claims by parents who cannot work while staying home with kids during the pandemic, and once claims are delayed by automated notifications for a “non-monetary issue” or “additional claim required,” they can often only be resolved by phoning an agency that is already overwhelmed, said Rachael Kohl, director of the Workers’ Rights Clinic at the University of Michigan. 

Many of the issues were painfully known to state officials before the pandemic and the MiDAS system has been a source of controversy for years. It is the subject of several lawsuits for falsely accusing tens of thousands of residents of unemployment fraud from 2013 to 2015 and then automatically assessed huge fines and penalties.

"MiDAS is the biggest barrier to Michiganders getting benefits — both historically since its implementation in 2013 and right now during COVID-19," Kohl told lawmakers in a June memo.

The system was implemented in 2013 under former Gov. Rick Snyder, two years after he signed laws restricting eligibility for benefits. Since then, the rate of jobless residents who qualify for benefits in Michigan has dropped sharply, falling from 40 percent to 27 percent in 2019, according to federal data. 

Last year, 78 percent of improper benefit denials in Michigan were the result of inadvertent errors made by claimants, the highest rate in the nation.

With new state leadership now in place, the MiDAS system has few if any defenders in the administration of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat.

Steve Gray, director of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, is a former unemployment claims advocate who was appointed last year to fix the agency. (Courtesy photo)

“You don’t get to that low recipiency rate on accident — that was baked into the system,” said Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Steve Gray, a former claimant advocate who exposed MiDAS flaws and the false fraud scandal before Whitmer appointed him in June 2019.

“We’ve had to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week at getting all of those roadblocks out of the system,” Gray told Bridge in a phone interview last week. 

False fraud all over again

Felicia Christian knows the system — and its failings — all too well. 

The Canton Township woman was falsely accused of unemployment fraud in 2015 after she lost an assistant teaching job the prior fall. And now, unemployed again because of the pandemic, the state is garnishing her federal benefits to repay a disputed debt she thought was resolved.

“This whole world is a mess, and they’re taking my money in a pandemic? It’s just wrong, it’s dirty and it’s evil,” Christian told Bridge.

Felicia Christian, 43, was accused of unemployment fraud in 2015, and even though an administrative law judge has cleared her of wrongdoing, the state is garnishing her federal benefits as repayment during the coronavirus pandemic.  (Courtesy photo)

Christian had received $2,500 in jobless benefits over three months in late 2014 before the UIA's automated system accused her of fraud and told her she owed the state nearly $100,000 with fines and penalties. 

A relentless writer, Christian spent years defending herself in letters to the agency. Administrative law judges finally heard a series of her appeals in 2018 and 2019 and cleared her of wrongdoing, according to attorneys at the U-M clinic who represent her. 

But when Christian lost her substitute teaching job in March as Whitmer closed schools to stop the spread of coronavirus, she spent more than a month trying to qualify for jobless benefits, pleading with the governor and a state legislator to intervene.

When the UIA finally determined she was eligible in late April, the state began taking nearly $300 out of her benefits every two weeks to satisfy what it claimed was still nearly a $2,600 debt. 

"I was found non-fraudulent, so they really shouldn't be taking anything," Christian said, noting the state also intercepted her $614 tax return in 2017. "I think they're just making stuff up as they go, and I'm tired of it."

The false fraud scandal prompted reforms, including a requirement that human staff now review all accusations of unemployment fraud.

Paris, the attorney, said Christain’s account isn’t atypical and he gets calls every day from people experiencing problems with MiDAS similar to those found years ago.

"My voicemail is going full while [state officials] are saying there is nothing wrong with the system. None of those people see it on the ground level. That is real poetic. It is so frustrating.”

Gray, the unemployment agency director, has acknowledged the state is still dealing with the repercussions of earlier design flaws, including a propensity to over-flag “non-monetary issues” that require eligibility investigations by human staff that can delay or invalidate a claim. 

“To some extent, that system shoots us in the foot,” he told lawmakers in June during one of several public hearings over UIA processing delays. “It generates the need for a lot more phone calls” by claimants, creating a vicious circle that has contributed to long wait times at the UIA call center, he said. 

The state has requested more than 150 program changes from the program’s developer, FAST Enterprises of Colorado, during the pandemic, including updates to fraud management programs, creation of a work queue to prioritize cases in need of staff review and changes to automated messages sent to claimants.

Even after the false fraud scandal, the state continued to extend the FAST contract on a yearly basis, including a $4.28 million extension last fall.

The current deal is set to expire Aug 28, and Michigan is likely to seek additional changes, said Gray. 

But Gray acknowledged the state is not well positioned to replace its vendor by the time the current deal expires in late August. 

“The frustration, anxiety and anger this is creating for claimants, the Legislature and UIA staff requires a rethink to the approach of data and benefits and usability that’s built into the system,” he said last month. 

FAST officials declined comment.

A golden touch

When Michigan set out to overhaul its unemployment insurance system a decade ago, its top priority wasn’t ensuring timely benefits for residents  or building capacity to handle huge claims in the event of a recession — let alone a pandemic. 

It was to “reduce the costs of operations” by weeding out fraud and streamlining the claims process, according to a 2010 request for bids issued in the waning days of former Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s administration. 

At the time, the state owed the federal government almost $4 billion because of high unemployment insurance costs during the Great Recession. Auditors told the agency it needed to get tougher, saying human staff was too hesitant to accuse claimants of fraud, which may have cost the agency between $158 million and $278 million in “overpayments” the prior three years. 

The state contracted with FAST Enterprises to begin building the system in 2011, the same year the Republican Sndyer signed laws that cut the number of weeks claimants could qualify for benefits, added criteria that disqualified more people, toughened fraud penalties and shifted reporting requirements to workers, requiring them to submit prior pay stubs.

Two years later, Snyder signed a budget that cut more than 500 agency staffers and his administration unveiled MiDAS in homage to a mythical Greek king who turned everything he touched to gold. 

The system saved money, recapturing $63 million in overpayments in the first quarter the state used the system, double the $31 million collected the previous quarter,according to a 2015 state report

Some of the savings, though, nearly $21 million, had to be refunded to residents in 2017 who were falsely accused of fraud.

Nor has MiDAS fixed the state’s problems with overpayments. In 2019, Michigan’s rate of improper unemployment payments was the highest in the nation at 41 percent, more than $189 million.

Finding real fraud

A system designed to root out fraud appears to have had trouble identifying it amid the pandemic.

A Nigerian fraud ring dubbed “Scattered Canary” by researchers has targeted unemployment systems nationwide, using personal information likely stolen from security breaches to siphon benefits enhanced by $600 per week by Congress.

Michigan has not disclosed how many fraudulent accounts it has actually uncovered, but state police have warned that more than 100,000 claims may have been falsified, potentially costing the state millions of dollars. The UIA said last month that roughly 58,000 Michiganders had reported imposters using their identity to seek jobless benefits. 

But there's no question many unemployed residents tied up in the probe did nothing wrong, including Kathleen FIsher of Utica in Macomb County.

“There’s many, many nights that I went to bed crying,” said Fisher, who lost her job as an analyst and spent weeks trying to resolve a small error she made in her initial claim before the state froze her benefits. 

“I’ve got to worry about trying to find a job for myself. I shouldn’t have to worry about getting my money.”

As of July 6, the UIA said it has resolved 445,000 of those claims initially flagged for potential fraud, but it has not disclosed how many were actually found to be fraudulent. 

Roughly 55,000 active accounts and 40,000 new claims remained frozen pending additional identity verification. 

Federal prosecutors on Friday filed a criminal complaint against a state contract worker alleging she authorized more than $2 million in fraudulent payments.

Investigators said they used MiDAS records to catch the Detroit woman, who was fired as a claims examiner on June 17 still managed to access the system and approve claims until early July.

The UIA announced Thursday it has hired Deloitte, a national consulting and risk management firm, for a forensic review to help identify fraudulent activity that could be quickly turned over to police. 

But the state has declined to explain how it flagged accounts amid the investigation and whether it is using the same kind of algorithms that incorrectly accused tens of thousands of residents in the scandal exposed five years earlier. 

“We cannot speak in detail publicly about our fraud prevention program, as this information is frequently used by criminal impostors to devise new strategies,” UIA spokesperson Jason Moon told Bridge, explaining the state has appointed a special fraud adviser who previously worked for the U.S. Secret Service. 

“There are still many unknowns – that is the nature of fraud – but were committed to doing everything possible to stop it,” Moon said.

Gray defended the agency’s decision to halt payments on active accounts during the pandemic, telling Bridge the state acted on “law enforcement information on how these imposters were presenting themselves” but tried to create a system whereby legitimate claimants could quickly prove their identity.

“We didn’t stop payments because we thought they’d necessarily committed fraud,” he said. 

Hidden costs

Michigan unemployment officials acknowledge they need to improve, but note the state has processed an unprecedented volume of claims amid the pandemic, often in a timely fashion, and has provided $15 billion in benefits to 97 percent of eligible claimants since March 15. 

Despite myriad claimant complaints during the pandemic, preliminary data show Michigan residents who qualified for unemployment have often been quickly paid. 

The state paid 580,000 claimants for the first time in April, and 90 percent of those first payments occurred within three weeks of an eligibility determination, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That was up from an average of 85 percent over the prior five years and topped the federal standard of 87 percent. 

But there were more than 1.2 million claims by the end of April, and the state took much longer than usual to resolve eligibility disputes. Of the 37,000 cases where there was a “non-monetary” issue that jeopardized eligibility, the state only resolved 20 percent within three weeks, well below the state's 74 percent rate the prior five years and the 80 percent federal standard.

Some eligibility disputes have stretchen for months. The agency announced last week that it cleared a backlog of 11,824 claims that had been filed in April or earlier but is still working to resolve another 30,000 claims filed in May. 

While lawmakers have lambasted the agency and called on Whitmer to replace the leadership, Gray and other claimant advocates he worked for argue MiDAS is a large part of the problem.

“It definitely needs an overhaul, there’s no question about that,” Gray told Bridge. “This system seems to be designed with preventing overpayments, and not as much of a priority on making sure that people who are eligible are getting paid.”

Paris, the civil rights lawyer representing victims of the false fraud scandal, said the recent wave of stopped payments and fraud accusations “almost seems worse” than the scandal five years ago because they are based only on “the allegation that somebody is messing with something somewhere.”

“The system is set up to assume people are guilty so they are deterred from filing,” Paris said. 

“And what is frustrating for me is that regular people don’t know that this is a particular mode of government, this spreadsheet model, this algorithm model. My clients just think government is bad and you can’t rely on the government.” 

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Comments

Evel Knievel
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 7:54am

“We didn’t stop payments because we thought they’d necessarily committed fraud,” he said.
The state of Michigan is your ENEMY, that should be abundantly clear after reading this. Steve Gray and Jeff Donofrio should not only be fired, they should be in jail. At minimum, they should have to go through the unemployment system to get their paychecks. I bet it would be fixed right away.

Wanda
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 10:23am

Nonsense. The State of Michigan is We the People. Reread the article.

LIVID
Thu, 07/23/2020 - 3:04pm

I just found out some criminal or criminal enterprise fraudulently filed for unemployment in my name for the SECOND time.

Arjay
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 8:53am

How did the world exist until the 20th century when unemployment payments, disability payments, social security payments, Medicaid payments, Medicare payments, and all other forms of government payments came into being? Whatever happened to the axiom that everyone should have a 6 month emergency fund? We are rapidly approaching what is called the tipping point, when more people expect to take from the government when there are fewer people to to replenish the government funds. When that happens, the government becomes socialist and everyone knows that socialism is not the answer given the demonstrations by Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, and many other countries. And the argument that these programs are paid for by the workers does not hold true when Michigan has to go multi billions into debt to pay because the unemployment fund does not have enough money in it. Social Security and Medicare are projected to be in debt in the near decades if nothing is done.

Jim tomlinson
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 9:27am

This is not the 19th century. I worry about low income up north counties were good jobs with benefits and job security are rare(think seasonal work as one example). Fewer citizens in poverty tends to make those outside the top 10% less restive, healthier, etc. helping neighbors is good for america. Its a shame those who remain wedded to 19th century norms have so much disdain for neighbors

Fool me once
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 10:30am

Trump promised to bring back manufacturing. Didn't that happen? Surely rural America is booming now, isn't it? Oh yeah, those things will come AFTER Trump is reelected. LOL

Lisa M
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 9:55am

Thought....why do “companies” not have savings plans like individuals? Because the government always has money to prop them up for the precious economy. We need a total mindset shift to greater accountability and responsibility across the board and our current constructs won’t allow for that. Funny how we expect the average citizen to behave more responsibly than the average business. I have worked as an accountant for a number of businesses both individual owned and private equity. They all just suck the funds out with little regard for anything except their own selfish interests. IMO, the voters just keep focusing on the wrong shiny objects and THAT is all by design. But opinions/comments are easy, solutions take energy, thought, accountability.

Mary
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 10:01am

The cost of living has outpaced wages for decades. People today work 2 and 3 jobs just to put a roof over their heads and food on the table. Many of the college educated are strapped with debt for decades. 6 month emergency fund sounds good, but is out of reach for the working poor.

Suburbatory
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 10:43am

Just got a bill for auto insurance: $9,000+ for three cars all over five years old. You need to make over $12, just to pay that! So how exactly does the new auto insurance law help us? Do I get a hundred dollar reduction only to be covered for the cost of being medivaced to a hospital, then I have to pay for the rest of my life, lose my house? Oh, I know, if I move to Chatfield's district in the middle of nowhere, I bet I can save a whole lot of money, but then I won't have a job to send my taxes back to his district.

I get it. Life sucks, then you die, but you die sooner when repugnant leaders condone refusal to wear masks. Instead of working together, every one is fighting for freedom and independence. Praying for a blue tidal wave. We cannot have another election where the loser gets 3 million more votes. Things are so messed up. Of course people are protesting in the streets during a pandemic. We're all feeling helpless and hopeless.

Rick
Tue, 07/21/2020 - 1:13pm

Yes. Privatize profits, socialize losses that's the Republican Party for you. They race to throw money at the wealthy and big business then slow roll the little people: Us. We don't matter. We don't give them big bribes, er, 'campaign contributions' nor do we offer them perks and jobs when they lose in the elections. The Republicans don't want us to vote - just rich, white men. Look at what they do, not what they say.

GOP/Trump Cahoots
Thu, 07/23/2020 - 4:14am

Trump said Mexico would pay for his wall, but US taxpayers got the bill. Trump said he would rebuild our US infrastructure, but he didn't. He's just giving out trillions of dollars in corporate welfare and goodies to get reelected. Basic internet in Oscoda, MI costs $69/mo. Basic internet in Birmingham, MI costs $45/mo. Both cities vote for Republicans. People in Oscoda earn a small fraction of the money people in Birmingham make. You do the math. You need basic internet to do EVERYTHING today, from running a successful business, to getting a better education, to getting access to products, etc. Trump and the GOP continue to fail rural America, but people in rural Michigan continue to vote for Republicans. You don't always "get what you pay for". Sometimes you pay more, but get less. "It's the economy, stupid." Wake up. There a lot of promises before elections, but they aren't kept. The stock market is doing great, but our family has been losing more money every year since Trump was elected. FACT If your family is doing better, then hell ya, vote for Trump again, but if you look honestly at your finances and see a downward trend, don't be so foolish to vote for Trump again. He's literally killing us for his own enrichment, enabled by the vast majority of the GOP.

George Hagenauer
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 10:34am

The basic result of less of a safety net was a shorter lifespan and a lot of other social ills. In England homelessness was so bad that women worked as prostitutes to earn enough to sleep in chain joints- places where you paid to sleep sitting up held in place by a large chain that went across all the people sleeping's chests. If you can check magazines in the late 50's early 60's before medicare you can find a lot of articles on senior citizens subsisting on dog food. We don't need to go backwards, we do need a government that fixes t he problems in existing systems.

Allan Blackburn
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 1:13pm

Arjay: I cannot believe you are either this dumb to make this kind of a stupid comment or this heartless. There aren't a heck of a lot of doctors I know that were laid off during this pandemic, nor lawyers or many other professional positions. Most of the people who were laid off worked in the service industry of bars and restaurants, Uber drivers, and other positions where they could not maintain social distancing in order to perform it. As an employer and CEO of a healthcare clinic for 25 years I had 34 employees. Every quarter we paid into The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) which is the original legislation that allows the government to tax businesses with employees for the purpose of collecting revenue that is then allocated to state unemployment agencies and paid to unemployed workers who are eligible to claim unemployment insurance. So unemployment is something that all employers pay in to so that employees who are laid off can claim unemployment. The same as your Social Security which you and your employer pay in to so that you can collect a check when you choose to retire at a set age range. Your other rants are equally stupid as we all pay taxes and should have a say in how they are distributed. I frequently argue with Kevin Grand here who also assumes he is the only one who pays taxes and should be the sole determinant in how they are spent. He definitely does not want to see his fellow traveler benefit in any way as he enjoys pulling the wings off of flies. Are you of the same ilk? Prior to some of the New Deal reforms passed in the 20th century people were prepared to take care of disabled family members, parents, kids, etc. Are you of that category where you will take care of your parents as they age until their deaths in your home, all of your disabled, troubled family members? I am fortunate where I have enough to live comfortably for many years with what I have saved. As a healthcare CEO I saved a large sum of money. I am an exception and not a norm. Many people are struggling with several jobs just to get by and make ends meet. Wages have not kept up with inflation since the 80's. With the gig economy, the service based economy which replaced a manufacturing economy that existed when my father was working, people barely have enough to cover any kind of emergency and live payday to payday. If we can keep affording to give away trillion dollar tax cuts to the wealthiest among us I think, in the richest country in the world, where we all pay in to the system, we should be able to pay some for our fellow humans along the way.

Dee
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 4:39pm

Allan,
I agree with you. Your response to Arjay was enjoyable. I was especially pleased to see that, as a CEO, you understand that not everyone has a six figure income and cannot afford to have six months in wages on hand for an emergency. Contrary to popular belief, we do need a safety net for our fellow human beings who fall on hard times. Just because a person/family has a need for food assistance, doesn't mean they are uneducated and lazy and want to live on the dole forever. I know what you mean about Joe Taxpayer and his right to tell others how to live and spend "his" money. Oh, and God forbid you should see a mom in a store buying a cake for her child's birthday with her Bridge card! It's too bad more Americans cannot open their hearts and minds to others less fortunate.

Jeff
Wed, 07/22/2020 - 11:46am

Hard to open your heart for someone when the state is already viciously prying open your wallet for them six ways from sunday.

Anonymous
Thu, 07/23/2020 - 4:25am

By "the state" you must mean auto insurance companies.

Democratic Socialist
Thu, 07/23/2020 - 4:32am

Arjay,

The term socialist has been thrown around quite a bit in the past few years. Not since the cold war has the term garnered so much attention in the press and from politicians. But when you look at countries who actually have a socialist economic structure, you can see some similarities to the United States – but there are some really stark differences.

Below, you will see some of the most socialistic nations in the world today:

China
Denmark
Finland
Netherlands
Canada
Sweden
Norway
Ireland
New Zealand
Belgium

Despite popular myths, there is very little connection between economic performance and welfare expenditure. Many of the countries on this list are proof of that, such as Denmark and Finland. Even though both countries are more socialistic than America, the workforce remains stronger.

John S.
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 9:55am

Are those committing identity theft or fraud every caught, prosecuted, convicted, and punished? It doesn't seem to happen that often. I've been a victim of identity theft about once a year. There was a time when a person applying for unemployment would need to show up at a government office. There was still fraud. Construction workers with dirt under their fingernails would show up shortly after noon to pick up their checks. Good luck to the state controlling fraud--it seems like an arms race.

Mike A
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 10:50am

Same here. There should be a law saying that victims shall be notified when the perpetrators are caught. This needs to stop. We are all at risk and deserve government protection. People cry about not getting their benefits. Imagine those crying not knowing the extent of the damage being caused by people who steal your identity. There should be laws that require back up notification when someone's id is being used. Like a text message that contains a code number. Why are criminal enterprises always ahead of our lame legislators? Are they in kahoots with campaign contributions?

Anonymous
Thu, 07/23/2020 - 3:09pm

John, it's an easy fix. Make people show up in person with photo id to get their check and photograph the person getting the money to create a trail to investigate.

Anonymous
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 10:21am

A Nigerian fraud ring dubbed “Scattered Canary” by researchers has targeted unemployment systems nationwide, using personal information likely stolen from security breaches to siphon benefits enhanced by $600 per week by Congress.

---What sanctions are being placed on Nigeria for these things? If their government does not stop, it we should. Is Russia behind it? These schemes and id theft are just as insidious and deadly as the coronavirus. Yet it seems our country is failing us miserably on both fronts. Why are we spending so much money on national defense while leaving ourselves so unprepared and vulnerable to these more immediate threats to Americans?

George Hagenauer
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 10:39am

I did 25 years of advocacy on child care payments in another state. My discussions with state employees who worked in those was that the computerized systems once developed basically became welfare programs for whoever designed the systems. And the systems like roads are incredibly expensive to replace. The algorithm problems however are not limited to government programs. Ebay, paypal, credit cards and many other systems are replete with them as we currently depend way too much on computers in order to reduce staff. The difference is those systems are less a life and death situation than the ones in state or federal government.

Allen Gabrielson
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 11:31am

Funny no mention of the State of Michigan employees that were “furloughed” in order to collect UIA and PUA, thereby increasing their normal salaries. They were not required to file for UIA like the rest of the citizens in our State and basically went to the front of line and started collecting immediately. Just another example of the hypocrisy and lack of transparency of our State government.

John Q. Public
Tue, 07/21/2020 - 9:22am

Most state employees didn't have to file individually and they didn't jump any line because their claims come under a different section of the unemployment compensation code. https://www.michigan.gov/leo/0,5863,7-336-78421_97241_89981_90231_90233_...

The employer (and any qualifying employer can do it), instead of laying off, say, 30% of the workforce and keeping 70% working full time, reduces EVERYBODY’s hours by 30% and keeps everybody working 70% of the time. Then it is up to the EMPLOYER, not each employee, to certify that each employee meets the eligibility requirements for unemployment compensation for a given week. This is a lot more work for the employer so it’s understandable why not many choose it.

It isn’t the employer’s (i.e., in this case the State of Michigan) fault that the federal government didn’t pro-rate the $600 weekly payment, but that’s no different than for employees of who were laid off and had to file as individuals. That included quite a few state employees who WERE laid off and had to file individual claims just like any other laid off employee. There are hundreds of employees in the state workshare program who haven’t received any money yet (according to my neighbor, who is one of them). They encountered problems the same as lots of other people with valid claims.

Mike
Mon, 07/20/2020 - 5:41pm

This system was Snyder's dirty work. He's the one who should be charged with fraud and Schutte, who was the Attorney General, should be charged with malicious prosecution for charging innocent residents who applied for benefits.

Lags
Tue, 07/21/2020 - 8:44pm

If rates aren't adjusted small businesses will go broke paying first years responsibility. Who put in place that system and who holds purse strings to fix it?