State halts unemployment payments to 340k Michiganders to search for fraud

State officials say unemployment fraud is widespread while desperate residents face more hurdles to getting help.

The State of Michigan has blocked unemployment payments to 340-thousand residents in order to inspect the accounts for potential fraud.

Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio said they have already identified a “significant amount of fraud” in new applications, according to an article in Bridge Magazine.

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“We know a large number of people who were swept up in this were eligible, and we don’t want to harm them,” he said. “We’re just taking the cautious approach here, working with law enforcement, working with fraud experts on this.”

The frozen accounts were already active, which means they had already received payments before being flagged for fraud. Those with unemployment claims should login to their account to verify their identity.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has hired hundreds of staff to address the new workload.

Many states are facing similar issues with fraudulent unemployment claims.

“Every state is now experiencing this, and it is just sickening that these criminals would put us in the situation,” Donofrio said.

You can read the full story here.

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