This week’s Golden Horseshoe is awarded to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Unemployment Insurance Agency, which disbursed an estimated $3.9 billion in improper pandemic unemployment benefits and continued to pay ineligible claimants after being alerted to the issue, a state audit found.
The Michigan UIA paid out billions in improper payments through three federal pandemic relief programs: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, and Lost Wages Assistance. PUC, through the federal CARES Act, boosted unemployment payments by $600 per week.
“Ultimately, UIA’s application and weekly certification processes allowed individuals without any prior attachment to the workforce and who may have been unemployed for reasons unrelated to COVID-19 to be paid PUA and associated PUC and LWA program benefits improperly,” Michigan Auditor General Doug Ringler reported in the audit.
The audit found that UIA’s senior leadership, through both actions and inaction, “directly contributed to the creation of invalid PUA application and certification processes and UIA’s failure to timely and appropriately address issues pointed out by the U.S. Department of Labor and UIA staff.”…