Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Kunse: Unemployment agency audit highlights failures
RELEASE|December 28, 2023
Contact: Tom Kunse

State Rep. Tom Kunse, R-Clare, made the following statement Thursday after Michigan’s nonpartisan Office of the Auditor General uncovered failures by the Unemployment Insurance Agency. The report found the UIA neglected to investigate improper payments made during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If someone walked into my bank and stole from my account, I’d count on the bank to do everything possible to track down my money. We fund the UIA with our tax dollars. Governor Whitmer and the UIA could’ve tracked down fraudulent payments and ensured those dollars went to eligible recipients. Instead, they let payments to inmates and nursing home patients walk right out the door.

“House Republicans introduced a plan to reform the UIA. It’s currently sitting in a Democrat-led committee that has not met since June. Our proposal makes the whole process more transparent and connects jobseekers with much-needed training. UIA benefits are important but writing blank checks without oversight or support isn’t the answer. Benefits should bridge the gap until a person can find a long-term career.

“Democrats are disregarding our common-sense solutions and forging their own misguided path. Their plan would pay people more money to do less, incentivizing people to not explore career opportunities. If the UIA were a bridge, it would’ve already collapsed. The Democrat plan would send cars driving right off the ledge.”

The audit into the Investigations Division at the Whitmer administration’s UIA found that between January 2020 and October 2022, the agency failed to attempt to identify a large share of imposter claims or to recover many payments and penalties. To date, audits have already uncovered billions of dollars in fraudulent payments. The most recent report revealed another $245.1 million in potentially improper payments to ineligible individuals, even after the agency found that an individual was dead or in prison. The UIA did not identify or act to evaluate whether the payments were appropriate.

The House Republican plan to reform the UIA, co-sponsored by Kunse, would increase transparency, prevent fraud, and improve customer service for unemployed workers seeking benefits and employers who pay taxes into the unemployment system. The bills were referred to the House Ethics and Oversight Committee.


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