Wed, Jul 27, 2022 3:53 PM
By Bruce Walker, The Center Square
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency was granted U.S. Department of Labor approval to halt 391,769 state tax return intercepts and new wage garnishments for ineligible unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The DOL previously approved suspension of 62,000 UIA repayment efforts.
The suspension through Oct. 31, will halt collections on unemployment benefits granted under:
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security.Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.Mixed Earnings Unemployment Compensation and federal reimbursement for the first week of benefits.
The UIA is required to collect overpayments from federally funded programs, and notes the suspensions do not apply to:
Claims determined to be fraudulent or being investigated for fraud.State unemployment insurance program overpayments.Delinquent debts owed to other states or federal agencies.
“My top priority is to help Michigan families,” UIA Director Julia Dale said in a statement. “When we work any claim we recognize that each one represents a worker who has fallen on hard times, and a family that needs help to put food on the table, pay bills and keep a roof over their heads.
“The suspension will put money back in the pockets of people who needed pandemic unemployment benefits and followed the rules when they asked for help. This federal action will allow us the time we need to evaluate claims for overpayment waivers, which we will be announcing soon.”
The Center Square reported last week that the UIA granted waivers for 7,300 overpayment claims, totaling $53.2 million. Additionally, the UIA applied $431 million in waivers in May. All told, the UIA has forgiven $484.2 million on 62,200 claims thus far this year and has waived more than $4.35 billion from more than 407,300 claims since July 2021.
The collections suspension does not stop the following agency collections activities:
Existing wage garnishments.Intercepting federal tax returns.Deducting a percentage from current unemployment benefit payments, or recovering overpayments for other states.Collections of overpayments made before the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.