From Crain's Detroit Business, Dec. 6 in a story by Chad Halcom
About three years ago, the state launched its Michigan Integrated Data Automated System, which is able to cross-check benefit claimants against other computer records and flag events that might disqualify someone from benefits: obtaining a new job, being dead, having other benefits or a misreported cause of separation.
The new system has spurred thousands of new fraud investigations and curtailed overpayments, but is sometimes controversial and now faces a possible class-action lawsuit.
Jennifer Lord, an attorney at Pitt, McGehee, Palmer & Rivers PC in Royal Oak, is leading a potential class-action lawsuit against UIA in theMichigan Court of Claims, on behalf of unemployment claimants who lost benefits without the chance to make a case for themselves to the agency.
"In some cases once a determination is made, an automatic penalty four times the payment sum is imposed," she said. "Even if someone collected $5,000 in benefits, they can get garnished to the tune of $20,000, without even knowing what happened or being able to present a case to anyone."
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