DETROIT – House Republicans say this is just the beginning. GOP members are currently drafting the wording of legislation they hope to introduce soon aimed at reforming the Unemployment Insurance Agency.
“The agency doesn’t work for the people and that has to change,” said State Rep. Steve Johnson (R-Wayland).
House Republicans are going after the UIA drafting legislation they say will protect Michiganders.
“We gave them a year and a half to get their act in order, it hasn’t happened ... It’s time for the Legislature to step up and fix this for the people of Michigan,” said Johnson.
Policy proposals include introducing an independent citizens advocate, an outside agency that serves as a point of contact for people who need help.
They also want to implement a 10-day time frame for the agency to make a determination on whether someone qualifies for unemployment.
“One issue we focused on was how the agency was handling the massive surge in unemployment claims due to government mandated shutdowns. People in my district were telling me they were waiting weeks and months for money they needed to keep families afloat,” said Jack O’Malley, Republican State Representative of Michigan’s 101 House District.
The UIA has been plagued with issues throughout the pandemic including delayed payments and fraudulent claims.
“Anytime there’s a problem they always say ‘we’re understaffed and underfunded’ that’s not the problem. The problem here is a lack of leadership,” said Johnson.
They want a new director at the UIA and hope new legislation will lead to systemic changes at the agency.
“Every state had issues with unemployment but Michigan stands apart with how bad it has been,” said Johnson.
UIA released the following statement:
“As always, UIA leadership is open to discussions on processes and procedures that will efficiently and effectively serve jobless claimants as well as being open to working cooperatively with the Legislature and maintaining compliance with our federal partners to better serve the residents of Michigan.”Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency