State Rep. Timmy Beson today called for greater accountability at Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) after an independent report determined that the agency likely paid about $8.5 billion for potentially fraudulent claims during the pandemic.
“Our jobless agency didn’t do its job,” said Beson, of Bangor Township. “The high level of fraud was possible because government bureaucrats mismanaged the unemployment system. Officials at the agency need to be held accountable for letting this happen on their watch.”
A report issued by Deloitte estimated that the UIA paid about $8.5 billion for potentially fraudulent unemployment claims between March 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021, most of which occurred between March 1 and Oct. 2, 2020. The estimate included $2.8 billion paid for claims involving likely imposter fraud, or fraud using another person’s name, and $5.7 billion for claims involving likely intentional misrepresentation, which inaccurately represents the applicant’s eligibility.
“This stolen money came from working families in Michigan, including many small-business owners, who faithfully pay their state and federal taxes,” Beson said.
A portion of the fraudulent payments came specifically from the state unemployment trust fund, which is supported by unemployment insurance taxes on employers.
The UIA said that more than 50 Michigan residents have been charged with unemployment fraud, but Beson said the agency and law enforcement authorities must continue to identify, investigate and prosecute others for fraud.
“The people who committed fraud must be held accountable for their actions,” Beson said. “The unemployment agency can’t rest now. Its leaders need to work with law enforcement to track down the bad actors and bring them to justice. As much as possible, we need to get back the stolen money.”
State Rep. Timmy Beson, R-Bangor Township, today issued the following statement criticizing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s new call for a sales tax suspension on school supplies after she previously vetoed three bipartisan tax relief plans passed by the Legislature:
Rep. Beson, who sits on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on K-12 School Aid, says the Legislature and state government need to increase their attention on Michigan kids who have come through the pandemic, saying what is needed is a long-term focus on losses in educational opportunities and socialization.
From left, state Sen. Kevin Daley, R-Lum; state Rep. Timmy Beson, R-Bangor Township; and Greg Buzzard of That Guys BBQ & Grill stand together at the Labadie Rib Fest at Veterans Memorial Park in Bay City on Thursday, July 28. That Guys won first place for both ribs and sauce in the people’s choice awards at the festival.
A balanced, bipartisan state budget to support critical efforts such as police and roads, which was approved by state Rep. Timmy Beson and the Michigan Legislature earlier this month, became law today.