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Unemployment Benefits in Michigan were originally designed to assist unemployed workers on a temporary basis when their employment was terminated through no fault of their own. Employees were able to contact the UIA, speak to individuals, submit claims and receive their unemployment benefits with little or no hassle.
In recent years, this has changed significantly. Most unemployment offices have been closed. Wait times when calling the UIA for assistance frequently exceed 2 or more hours and that is only if the unemployed worker doesn’t get a busy signal when calling. Many claims are initially paid out, but if the unemployed worker is not hyper-vigilant with reviewing their claim file, the UIA can issue a Determination or Re-Determination finding the employee engaged in ‘misconduct’, thus causing a denial of the claim. This denial can occur months, even years after the unemployed worker has stopped collecting their benefits. Notification of the denial can be made through the unemployed worker’s MiWAM account and if the employee does not continue to check this account or their emails, the 30 day time frame to file an appeal of this denial can expire without the unemployed worker even being aware there is a problem.
Recently, the Michigan Unemployment Agency purchased and implemented a new computerized software program which systematically reviews claims filed by unemployed workers. Based upon this program’s preselected set of indicators, the UIA issues Determinations and Re-Determinations which generally find that unemployed workers are not entitled to unemployment benefits. Worse, this program evaluates claims made as far back as 6 years to determine if benefits should have been paid during that previous timeframe. If the program finds an irregularity, a Redetermination is then issued and the Unemployed worker could, and frequently is, found to have engaged in misrepresentation. The issuance of this type of Re-Determination is becoming more and more frequent as once the UIA makes a decision that the unemployed worker ‘misrepresented’ something, the worker is no longer entitled to a free Advocate to help them sort through the process. The misrepresentation decision also guarantees the UIA either two to four times the amount of benefits involved. Thus, if you filed a claim for unemployment benefits and received $6,000.00 over the course of 22 weeks, you could receive notification from the UIA that you engaged in misrepresentation, were not entitled to benefits and owe not only the $6,000.00 back as Restitution, but also an additional $24,000.00 in penalties. You could also be subject to criminal prosecution. The UIA has the added advantage of being an agency of the State of Michigan, which means they have direct access to your State of Michigan Tax Refund and the debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.
This firm has the experience, passion and understanding necessary to successfully navigate the unemployment process. Don’t wait to call if you receive notification that there is an issue with your UIA claim, whether is it s Request for Information or a formal Determination or Re-Determination, you need an experienced attorney on your side.
If you assert a claim for work-related injuries, known as workers' compensation benefits, you have certain rights against retaliation. If these rights and protections have been violated, the Law Offices of Dean T. Yeotis will help you.