Audit: Michigan Paid $8 Billion in Improper Jobless Benefits During Pandemic

An independent audit of the performance of Michigan’s unemployment compensation system during the pandemic gave state officials some good news and some bad news. The audit estimated that the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) thwarted $44 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims but handed out an estimated $8 billion in improper benefits during the first 19 months of the pandemic. The state hired the multinational auditing and consulting firm Deloitte and Touche in July 2020 to investigate unemployment fraud. The results were made public on Dec. 29, 2021. The same day, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced a pair of executive orders, which, she said, “solidifies anti-fraud measures.” According to the audit report, incrementally throughout the pandemic, about two dozen reforms and changes of procedures have been adopted by UIA to combat unemployment benefits fraud. The efforts have resulted in a steady decline in fraudulent claims. In a letter to Whitmer and …

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