(WXYZ) — Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency said tens of thousands of people won't have to pay back overpayments of federal pandemic unemployment benefits that were improperly awarded.
According to the UIA, over 55,000 claimants were overpaid a total of about $431 million. The agency said they have waived over $4.3 billion in overpayment debit for more than 400,000 claimants, with more to come.
“This is a huge weight lifted off so many Michiganders’ shoulders,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “No Michigander who did the right thing when applying for benefits should be required to pay anything back resulting from errors at the federal level. At every turn, I will stand up and fight on behalf of Michiganders to make sure they get what they were promised. Thanks to these waivers that we fought for and secured Michiganders will get to keep their hard-earned money.”
The state said that around $11 million will be refunded to claimants who had been paying back the overpayment, or it will be applied to any outstanding debt they may have.
“This is wonderful news for those who lost their job through no fault of their own,” UIA Director Julia Dale said. “The federal jobless assistance programs were a critical lifeline for many Michiganders affected by the global pandemic and our action today means they will be able to continue to provide for their families without the fear of having to pay back benefits awarded through agency error.”
The agency hasa notified people who received waivers by posting messages to their Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) and letters will be mailed in the coming days.