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Gov Signs Bill To Help Unemployment Agency Track Fraud, Lower Cost

April 19, 2022

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill Monday to crack down on unemployment fraud and lower the cost of unemployment for small businesses in Michigan.

HB 5525 adds $139.8 million to the Unemployment Compensation Fund, allowing for the hiring of dozens of employees to look for fraud. The bill is designed to help the Office of Attorney General pursue unemployment fraud, as well.

“We will pursue anyone who improperly exploits unemployment benefits to pad their own pockets and ensure they are prosecuted to the full extent of our laws,” Whitmer said.

The governor’s office said 54 people have been charged with fraud and 13 have been convicted or pleaded guilty. The auditor general reported that the UIA lost up to $8.51 billion to suspected fraudulent payments from March 2020 to September 2021.

The funds to crack down on that fraud include $106.8 million from federal, $24 million from the state General Fund and $8.9 million from state restricted funds.

“By making a deposit into the Unemployment Compensation Fund, we can help small businesses balance their books by lowering the costs of unemployment,” Whitmer said.

Five people who were charged thousands in overpayments sued the UIA and the director in a class-action lawsuit.

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