GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Michiganders rely on the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) whenever they’re laid off from work.
The state has paid out billions of dollars in benefits but now wants some of it back.
Fox 17 has received several emails from people who say they’re getting bills from the UIA.
But they tell me they were legitimately laid off during the governor’s shutdown and collected benefits.
They’re now being asked to pay the money back.
COOK’S PUA ISSUES
Bruce Kirschbaum worked part time as a line cook at Vault Café and Bakery in Caledonia.
When the pandemic forced people to shut down in March, Bruce lost his job and filed for unemployment. His boss wrote the agency a letter explaining the layoff.
“After they sent that determination saying you don’t qualify for regular unemployment, they told me I did qualify for the PUA,” said Kirschbaum.
He picked up another job in July and continued to certify and report his wages. When answering questions about his original employer, he made a mistake.
“Because I started this new job I just got confused and I filled out the PUA based on the new job. So, all the answers were ‘no’. So, I made a mistake and I acknowledge that,” said Kirschbaum.
During his layoff he did get benefits, but then got a notice from the agency that he misrepresented himself. So, he made an appointment and called.
“They only give you 15 minutes so I said I really wanna get to the crux of the matter,” Kirschbaum told FOX 17. “And, I left that phone appointment more confused than I was before.”
The UIA confuses a lot of people, especially when they can’t get answers from new hires on the phone.
They’re told to be patient and everything looks good on their account.
But it did not look good to Bruce. He got another notice in the mail saying he owed all the payments back.
More than $9,700 he collected over three months. He mailed in his protest on November 11th.
“November 21st I got a letter from them saying, ‘you were late the original determination is final’.”
Bruce got laid off again in November but the benefits were denied. He says he doesn’t want that money.
He just doesn’t want to have to pay back what he rightfully collected.
“You know it seems pretty straightforward to me that, I was laid off, you approved the benefit, I received it, all I did was take another job,” he said.
BARTENDER’S PUA ISSUES
“You took my job away from me,” said John Rogers of West Bloomfield.
He worked as a bartender for a hotel in Birmingham.
When the governor shut down bars and restaurants in March he filed for benefits. He collected until he went back to work in late July.
“Everything that I received they want it back they said I’m not eligible for that,” said Rogers.
His MIWAM shows an outstanding balance of more than $16,000. There’s even a place for him to fill out an online check for payment.
John mailed and faxed in proof that he was out of work. He too has filed a protest and is…
Go to the news source: Unemployed workers in Michigan being asked to pay back thousands in UI benefits