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Victims of unemployment testify at hearing on reforms legislation

Posted at 10:56 PM, Feb 18, 2016

LANSING, Mich. -- Today, lawmakers heard testimony about a bill to reform the Unemployment Insurance Agency.

Several people wrongly accused of fraud by the agency's automated system addressed the Michigan House Oversight and Ethics Committee.

The issues revolve around a $47 million computer system known as MiDAS. It was launched in 2013 by Governor Rick Snyder's administration and the UIA. It's been called efficient because it makes judgements without human intervention.

However, many people say the "MiDAS touch" is a computer running rampant, issuing erroneous decisions, and sparking exorbitant fines. Proper notification that there's an issue with their current or previous claim is also a recurring issue for citizens.

In October 2015, state representative Roger Victory introduced House Bill 4982 which aims to stop false fraud charges from impacting the innocent. The bill would require a UIA employee to double-check the computer's finding. The UIA would also have to send a second notice to the person's mailing address and give them 30 days to respond before issuing a fine.

Currently, the agency will send notifications to an online account for people who have elected to go paperless. However, if that person has stopped receiving benefits and gone back to work, they may not have a reason to check that online account.

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