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Lawmakers Propose Unemployment Overhaul


A bipartisan group of lawmakers has come up with plans to overhaul the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency. As we hear from Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta, they hope to stop a string of problems that led to thousands of people being wrongly accused of fraud.

An agency computer system erroneously said 37 thousand people collected benefits they weren’t entitled to.

State Representative Joe Graves says that revealed weaknesses in how the agency investigates fraud allegations, in letting people know they are under suspicion.

“Many times, they didn’t know they committed fraud, and many times they didn’t commit fraud.”

The bills would boost notification requirements, reduce penalties, and create a “watchdog” position. The “watchdog’s” job would be to investigate fraud allegations, and make sure the unemployment system is working the way it’s supposed to. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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