Michigan’s UIA acting director appears before House committee over problems of the last 18 months

Director reported issues with fraud, many unable to receive funds

LANSING, Mich. – The acting director of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency appeared before the House Oversight Committee Thursday to answer questions about the problems within the agency over the past 18 months.

“For those calling for my removal, this is not an easy job. If it were, the previous administration had eight years and seven UIA directors who could have made changes a long time ago,” said acting director Liza Estlund Olson.

Original report: Director of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency appears before House Oversight Committee

Olson reported more than 5 million claims were filed 26 times what the agency would normally face. The agency, she reported, paid 2.4 million claims with 99% of the benefits now due paid.

“We have done yeoman’s work,” Olson said.

She also admitted there was a lot of fraud -- an estimated $1.5 billion worth, although that’s not an agency number.

Olson said her agency rooted out half a million fraud claims, or 99% of them.

More: Michigan lawmakers call for change as frustration grows over unemployment system

However, a few of the committee members were not having it. House Oversight Committee Chair, Rep. Steve Johnson, was not having it.

“When I look for a leader, the leader takes responsibility. They don’t just blame other people and that’s what I keep hearing, is blaming other people,” said committee chair, Rep. Steve Johnson.

“When it comes to customer service and customer communication, I would say your department -- historically over the past year and a half -- has failed,” said Rep. Jack O’Malley.

More: More Michigan unemployment news

About the Author:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.