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Michigan likely paid $8.5B in fraudulent jobless claims

The amount comes from a report released Wednesday by the state’s unemployment agency.
Michigan likely paid about $8.5 billion in fraudulent or improper jobless benefits over a...
Michigan likely paid about $8.5 billion in fraudulent or improper jobless benefits over a 19-month period during the pandemic.(WVLT)
Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 9:54 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan likely paid about $8.5 billion in fraudulent or improper jobless benefits over a 19-month period during the pandemic.

The amount comes from a report released Wednesday by the state’s unemployment agency.

The latest numbers come more than a year after the agency expected fraud losses only in the hundreds of millions” of dollars. Auditors say much of the money went to people who applied for the money, only to be found ineligible later.

The state’s new Unemployment Insurance Agency director Julia Dale says she is outraged by the findings but says progress is being made and fraud is way down compared to early in the pandemic.

“It’s extremely disheartening that bad actors have defrauded the much-needed benefits intended for hard-working Michiganders and the scale of their actions is stunning,” Dale said in a statement, according to The Detroit News. “We have been successful over the past year in limiting the percentage of cases that are fraudulent to less than 1%, but we will never stop fighting for our workers.”

“My initial reaction to seeing these numbers is one of outrage and certainly frustration,” she told The Associated Press. “These are not the type of numbers that we had hoped to see or want to see.”

However, Dale did add that Michigan is doing a significantly better job preventing fraud, saying it avoided an estimated $43.7 billion in fraud from March 2020 through September 2021. The state paid $34.5 billion in benefits over that time.

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