The Michigan unemployment insurance agency is suspending collection efforts for all claimants who have been told their unemployment benefits have been overpaid due to the pandemic.
For example, the suspension of collection activities, such as the seizure of a claimant’s wages and the seizure of tax returns, applies to overpayments related to claims filed on or after March 1, 2020, and is part of a class action court order. done as a department. Litigation Against Agency.
Implementation of the suspension is expected to begin next week, according to a joint status report filed with the Michigan Court of Claims on Thursday.
The suspension of collection activities will continue until the agency has processed the outstanding claims and the court has agreed to terminate the preliminary injunction, but it is broader than the court requested. In August, Court of Claims Judge Brock Swartzle clarified that the stay applies to all plaintiffs who have overpayment notices, have appealed or protested the decision, and have not yet exhausted all their options. (and not just the plaintiffs named in the lawsuit).
The state’s UIA director, Julia Dale, said in an interview Thursday that the lawsuit gave the agency broad powers to stop collection efforts. Previously, government agencies had requested authority from the U.S. Department of Labor to suspend collection activities, but these suspensions were limited in time and scope.
However, it took at least five months to implement the court-ordered moratorium. It’s a process Dale called an “extraordinary feat.”
“Making changes to systems to accommodate such a widespread suspension of collection activities requires a significant amount of technical effort and expertise,” she said.
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David Blanchard, the attorney representing the plaintiffs suing the agency, said it’s unfortunate it’s taken so long to get to this point, but he’s happy the moratorium is nearing.
“I’m very happy that[this scale]will help people in Michigan know that you’re not alone,” said Blanchard. I hope you can tell me, you didn’t do anything wrong, it wasn’t you, it really was the computer system.”
Dale said the agency is still working to determine the number of claimants to whom the suspension applies. There are some indicators. More than 54,000 plaintiffs were targeted for collection efforts despite pending protests or appeals, according to court filings in September. It was trying to raise $83 million. With the agency’s computer he has 274,000 pending appeals in his system and his 45,000 pending appeals via his chat on the web, Mr. Blanchard says the suspension has hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs. I believe it will affect the
The UIA has issued 76,000 waivers this year totaling over $555 million. Dale said authorities are working to identify additional exempt persons.
“We will continue to issue waivers into the new year so that the process doesn’t stop and doesn’t stop,” she said.
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