Attorney helping those battling Michigan over freezing unemployment payments

State pauses payments to thousands during fraudulent claim investigation

Attorney threatens lawsuit over freezing of unemployment benefits

DETROIT – An attorney is trying to help people who are in a battle with the state of Michigan after unemployment payments to thousands of residents were paused during an investigation into fraudulent claims.

State officials are rushing to investigate the fraudulent unemployment claims, which led to payments to thousands of people -- including those with legitimate claims -- to be frozen.

READ: Scammers causing even more delays for Michigan unemployment system

The Michigan unemployment system has been a mess, and it’s a challenge for many residents to get their benefits, according to attorney Jennifer Lord.

Lord has been working to help those residents who are stuck. Right now, almost 350,000 Michiganders have their unemployment locked due to scams and identity thieves.

“Someone else has used my information to try to open an account,” a Berkley resident said. “I don’t know, and again, it’s not like I can call and find out.”

MORE: Here’s everything that has reopened across entire state of Michigan as of today

Lord said she’s trying to show people how to get around the broken system.

“It is time for a do-over,” Lord said. “That agency needs to stop talking in constant acronyms, double negatives. These communications need to be clear. There needs to be a whole new round of training."

She said even though it’s frustrating, the best thing residents can do is continue to rely on the resources available online.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.