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Unemployment Compensation Information for Claimants

Updated on July 2, 2017

Unemployment Compensation--Tips for Claimants

The purpose of this document is to provide information which may be useful to individuals who have found themselves in the unfortunate situation of losing their jobs and who may be eligible for unemployment compensation. The following information is based on my experience serving on the Michigan Employment Security Board of Review (appeals) and for the past several years representing claimants in administrative law judge unemployment compensation eligibility appeal hearings. Unemployment compensation regulations throughout the U.S. are similar but vary in a number of important respects from state to state. This information is based solely on my experience in Michigan.


BACKGROUND ON STATE-FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION SYSTEM

Most people find themselves unemployed at some time in their life. Unemployment was not such a problem when the U.S. was an agrarian, small town society where most people had families nearby who could help out in a pinch and where people grew much of their own food. But as the country industrialized and people flocked from the farms to cities to work in factories like Henry Ford's Rouge plant which employed 100,000 at its peak, unemployment became a critical social problem. People were no longer independent farmers living on their own land and growing their own food, but instead they were far from their relatives and dependent on the success of their employer and the good will of their boss for economic security. The federal-state unemployment compensation system was established to help tide people over in periods of involuntary unemployment.

A lot of thought went into the system. It's funded by a tax on employer payrolls. The tax in most states ranges from around one percent of payroll to twelve or thirteen percent of payroll depending on the number of layoffs previously experienced by each employer. In Michigan the maximum tax rate is 10.3 % of wages up to $9,000/ year and the minimum is 0.06%, as of November 2008. This variable tax rate is called experience rating. It's designed to provide an incentive for employers to plan their business to avoid layoffs. The firms with the fewest layoffs are rewarded with having to pay the lowest unemployment compensation tax rate. And, conversely, employers whose employment fluctuates widely, such as those in cyclical industries or in seasonal industries like construction, pay the highest unemployment compensation taxes. Employers don't like to pay high taxes so the experience rating system also provides them an incentive for them to protest unemployment compensation claims filed by their employees.

Another reason underlying unemployment compensation is that it has a counter-cyclical economic effect. That is, when there is a recession and people lose their jobs involuntarily, money is pumped into the economy by unemployment compensation payments to laid off workers, helping to stabilize the national economy or that of a particular state or region.

Like Social Security, Unemployment Compensation was established during the Great Depression in the 1930s, and like Social Security, it has become accepted and, by and large, accomplishes its mission of providing income to assist unemployed workers and provide a boost to the economy during recessions.

COMMENT: If you become involuntarily unemployed you should not hesitate to apply for unemployment compensation. That's what it's for. You are entitled to collect benefits so long as your are eligible, provided you carefully follow the procedures required by the unemployment agency in your state.


DISPUTES OVER ELIGIBILITY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION ARE QUITE COMMON

However, from the point of view of unemployed workers and employers, the system is far from perfect, and disputes over eligibility are common.

In general, employees who have worked long enough to establish eligibility and who are laid off by their employer are eligible for a maximum of 26 weeks (only 20 weeks in Michigan thanks to Governor Snyder and the Republican dominated state legislature) of unemployment compensation at an amount less than their previous pay up to a maximum of around $400 per week (in Michigan).

Employees who quit, with certain exceptions, are not eligible.

Employees who are fired for serious misconduct are not eligible.


FOLLOWING THE PRESCRIBED PROCEDURES IS VERY IMPORTANT

Finally, to be eligible claimants must apply for benefits in accordance with procedures and within deadlines established by the state unemployment compensation agency, and they must certify every two weeks that they are available and seeking suitable (jobs they have previously performed or for which they have received training) employment and that they did not receive disqualifying earnings during the period. Certification is generally accomplished by telephone or on the Internet. The rules for applying and certifying are generally very strictly enforced by state unemployment agencies. Failure to call in or report in person to certify as required will result in disqualification for two weeks or more of benefits unless there is a compelling reason for failure to do so. Failure to apply within the prescribed deadline after layoff also will result in loss of benefits for the weeks prior to filing, absent a compelling reason for failure to do so.

Comment: Many otherwise eligible individuals are disqualified from receiving benefits for which they would otherwise be eligible due to their failure to read and understand and comply with the unemployment agency's rules. Read the rules carefully and make sure you comply with them to the letter. Keep a record of your job search activities such as companies contacted, interviews, etc., so that in the event you are required to show that you are seeking work you will be able to do so.

IF YOU ARE LAID OFF

If you are laid off you should file promptly for benefits in accordance with the procedures in your state, either in person or on the internet. To be eligible for benefits for any given week or weeks you must certify in accordance with procedures in your state by telephone or in person that you were unemployed and available for and seeking suitable full-time employment. "Suitable" employment means work for which you are qualified by experience or training on any shift on which a job is available at an employer located within a reasonable distance of your residence. When you certify in accordance with established procedures you must report any earnings you have received during the period. Depending on the amount, earnings may reduce your benefit or render you ineligible for the week(s) for which you received them.

IF YOU QUIT YOUR JOB

As stated above, the general rule is that if you quit your job you will not be eligible for unemployment compensation. The rule in Michigan and most states is that a reasonable person will find another job before quitting the one he or she has. An exception to rule disqualifying people who quit occurs when there is "good cause for quitting attributable to the employer." What is or is not good cause is a gray area subject to differing interpretations by employment agency examiners and by the courts. In general, good cause for quitting is something that would cause a reasonable person to quit even though he or she does not have another job. Examples of good reasons are being required to work in unsafe conditions, being asked to violate the law, discrimination, sexual harassment, repeated verbal abuse or physical abuse by a supervisor, bounced pay checks, a significant change in the terms and conditions of your job (e.g. a wage or benefit cut).

Generally speaking, the courts require that before quitting the employee must use the prescribed complaint procedure and give the employer a chance to correct the situation. In Michigan employees are not required to file an OSHA, or discrimination complaint with a state or federal agency before quitting, but they are required to raise the issue with their employer using prescribed procedures and give the employer an opportunity to address the issue before quitting in order to qualify for unemployment compensation. In disputes over good cause for quitting the burden of proof is on the employee to establish that he or she had good cause for quitting attributable to the employer. Generally, this is not easy to do. Most unemployment agency claims examiners and administrative law judges are hard to convince that a reasonable person would not secure another job before quitting, absent serious abuses.

COMMENT: Recently, I represented a claimant in an administrative law judge (referee) hearing who quit because his supervisor repeatedly referred to him as a "terrorist," apparently because he appeared to be of Arabic descent. The claimant asked his supervisor not to refer to him as a terrorist and complained twice with no result to his supervisor's boss. The judge found good cause attributable to the employer for the claimant to quit. Going into the hearing I was not confident that the claimant would be found eligible. We argued at the hearing that calling someone a terrorist, even in jest, had taken on much greater significance since 9/11. The judge agreed. On the other hand there are Michigan court decisions that have said that an employee doesn't have the right to expect a "perfect supervisor" and have excused some pretty sorry supervisory conduct. In most cases, the best advice is to find another job before quitting or don't count on being eligible for unemployment compensation.


IF YOU ARE FIRED

Dismissal for serious misconduct is another disqualifier for unemployment compensation and another frequent gray area which is a common subject of disputes and appeals. What may seem to an employer as serious misconduct may not amount to misconduct under the unemployment compensation statute or court interpretations of if. In Michigan, the controlling court ruling defines disqualifying misconduct as "wanton or willful disregard of the employer's interest." That's a pretty high bar for employers to meet in contested unemployment compensation cases. However, those words leave much room for interpretation and dispute. Generally speaking, misconduct will be found in event of a single serious offense (e.g. theft, drug or alcohol offenses, insubordination, assault or fighting) or repeated minor offenses such as habitual tardiness or excessive absenteeism or other repeated and intentional violations of company rules or policies. Nevertheless, much remains for dispute.

The following is the definition of misconduct adopted by the Michigan Supreme Court in the case of Carter v. Employment Security Commission, 364 Mich 538, 541(1961):

"[Misconduct in an unemployment compensation case is] ... conduct evincing such wilful or wanton disregard of an employer's interests as is found in deliberate violations or disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee, or in carelessness or negligence of such degree or recurrence as to manifest equal culpability, wrongful intent or evil design, or to show an intentional and substantial disregard of the employer's interests or of the employee's duties and obligations to his employer. On the other hand,mere inefficiency, unsatisfactory conduct, failure in good performance as the result of inability or incapacity, inadvertancies or ordinary negligence in isolated instances, or good-faith errors in judgment or discretion are not to be deemed 'misconduct' within the meaning of the statute."

Some employers abuse the system by firing employees for alleged misconduct when they need to reduce the work force rather than laying them off because they do not want the employees to collect unemployment compensation against their account and cause their tax rate to go up. In dismissals, the burden of proof is on the employer to establish misconduct.

COMMENT: Don't press your luck. Comply with the rules and policies of your employer and, if you are going to be late or absent, call your employer and let him know. Administrative law judges take a dim view of employees who are absent or late and don't bother to call in. On the other hand, they will find claimants eligible in cases of absence or tardiness due to illness, emergency situations requiring care for children and the like.

Some employers use automatic point systems to discipline for absence or tardiness which do not take into account the reasons for the absence or tardiness. Most judges do not consider automatic point systems valid for establishing misconduct under unemployment compensation statutes. Absence, per se, is not misconduct. Only absence without reasonable cause is misconduct--illness or child care needs, court appearances and the like are not absence without reasonable cause. Of course, the more tardinesses and absences there are, the more skeptical the judges are of the employee and the more likely they are to find misconduct. Medical records and other tangible evidence can be helpful in establishing good cause for absences in unemployment compensation hearings. In Michigan, a court decision has said that in cases where an employee has been absent or tardy many times, the burden shifts from the employer to the employee to establish that his absences should have been excused because of illness or other good reason.


COMMENT: I have represented claimants in many cases fired by their employers for alleged misconduct who have been found eligible for unemployment compensation by administrative law judges. Generally speaking, the employee must have been informed of the rules and the employer must prove the violation by first hand testimony. With few exceptions hearsay evidence is not admissible.

TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES

The Michigan unemployment statute provides that anyone who is employed by a temporary help firm is obligated to notify the temporary help firm of the termination of an assignment with a client of the temporary help firm within 7 days of the end of the assignment, provided he was notified in writing of this obligation by the temporary help firm before the employee began performing services for the client.

Failure to notify the temporary help firm of the end of an assignment causes many claimants to be disqualified from receiving benefits. Many employees are required to sign several papers when they start an assignment or sign up with a temp agency. They receive a job with a client of the agency and work for months or even years and then are laid off. By then they have forgotten that they were notified of their obligation to notify their temporary agency that their assignment has ended with the result that they are disqualified from receiving benefits.

COMMENT: The requirement to notify temp agencies, in my opinion, is very unfair to claimants and should be stricken from the Act. Notifying the temp agency should be the obligation of the client employer, not the employee. Or, at very least, the client employer should be obligated to notify the employee, in writing, at the time the assignment ends, of his or her obligation to call the temp agency within 7 days and inform the agency that their assignment has ended. Moreover, a phone call is sometimes not enough to avoid disqualification. I have seen cases where the temp agency failed to record a phone notification. And some unscrupulous temp firms who have been notified by phone deny in appeal hearings that they have been notified. If I were a temp employee whose assignment came to an end I would follow up my phone call with a notification by a fax or registered letter. The notification provision in the statute is badly in need of change.

EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS REQUIRE WEEKLY REPORTS OF TWO JOB SEARCHES

Claimants who become eligible for extended benefits (beyond 26 weeks, currently and, effective January 1, 2012 20 weeks in Michigan) should take note of the requirement under the Michigan statute that they must provide the Unemployment Insurance Agency with "tangible evidence" of at least two job searches for each week for which they are receiving benefits. The Agency is enforcing this requirement strictly and is terminating extended benefits for claimants who are non-compliant with the job search reporting requirement.


IMPORTANT COMMENT: You must continue to certify that you are laid off, available and seeking work in accordance with established procedures while you are receiving benefits and/or until your appeal is finally resolved. You will not be eligible to receive benefits for any week or weeks for which you do not certify.


APPEALS PROCEDURES

All states provide for appeals of eligibility determinations by unemployment agencies. You should appeal any decisions which you believe are not in accordance with the law in your state. You don't have to hire a lawyer in order to appeal an agency determination or to appeal a re-determination to an administrative law judge hearing. Administrative law judge decisions may be appealed to the state appeals board without charge and without hiring an attorney. Michigan provides free representation by attorneys or lay representatives for claimants and employers in administrative law judge hearings. However, most states do not provide this service. It is to your advantage to be represented in administrative law judge hearings by someone who is familiar with unemployment compensation regulations and court decisions.

Unemployment agency claims examiners and other personnel involved in administering the statute are not infallible. Their decisions are reached without the benefit of having complete information from claimants and employers, and they deal quickly with large numbers of cases. Therefore, their error rate is significant. If you feel you have been found ineligible in error or unfairly, you should not hesitate to appeal. Administrative law judge decisions are much more likely to be correct than determinations by unemployment agency claims examiners. Nevertheless, the judges aren't infallible either, and if you disagree with the judge's decision you should appeal it to the state appeals board. In Michigan nearly all appeals board decisions are based on the facts found by the administrative law judge and on his written decision plus a transcript of the administrative law judge hearing. The cost to claimants or employers of an appeal is only the postage for the appeals letter which must be RECEIVED (not postmarked) by the appeals board by 30 days from the date of the judge's decision.

COMMENT: The appeals procedures for agency determinations and re-determinations and for appeals to administrative law judge and appeals board reviews carry STRICT time limits. If your appeals are not timely you will be out of luck in most cases.

IMPORTANT: If you are appealing an unemployment agency determination or administrative law judge eligibility decision, you must CONTINUE TO CERTIFY in accordance with agency procedures (calling Marvin in Michigan) that you are unemployed and seeking employment until your case is finally settled one way or the other. Even if you win your appeal you will not receive unemployment compensation for any week for which you failed to certify.

IMPORTANT: Getting to the administrative law judge hearing on time or preferably a bit early is critical. The judges' dockets are busy and the hearings start on time even if the claimant or the employer is not present. Moreover, being late does not make a good impression on the judge. Make sure in advance that you know how to get to the Hearings Office. Most judges will not accept your excuse that you were late because you got lost on the way to the hearing.

VERY IMPORTANT! Read the green book "Unemployment Benefits in Michigan" very carefully. The green book is provided to claimants. It explains almost everything you need to know about how to apply for and qualify for unemployment compensation benefits.

Part One describes "Benefit rights, Responsibilities and Terms Every Unemployed Worker Must Know."

The Forms Section of the green booklet contains tear-out forms for various aspects of the process of applying for unemployment compensation, appealing unemployment agency decisions and so forth.

Part Two explains how to phone MARVIN to certify/claim weeks of unemployment benefits. Failure to call MARVIN will result in a loss of benefits for the reporting period.

VERY IMPORTANT: Don't forget to register with Michigan Works!!

You must register for work before your first unemployment benefit payment can be made.

You register for work by posting your resume on the Michigan Talent ?Bank at a Michigan Works! Agency (MWA). You must do this at least three days before contacting the Unemployment Insurance Agency's automated telephone system, MARVIN, or using MARVIN Online, to collect your first unemployment payment. To locate the MWA nearest you, call 1-800-285-9675. You can also post yoru resume into the Talent Bank through the Internet by going online to www.michworks.org. If you register online, you still must report in person to an MWA to verify your registration is active in the system. See Form UIA 1222 "Notice to Register for Work" on page 23 of the green booklet (Unemployment Benefits in Michigan, A Handbook for Unemployed Workers). You must take this form with you when you go to the MWA. Failure to register for work can result in a delay or loss of your benefits.

If you are on a temporary layoff (less than 120 days from your last day worked) from a full-time job, you do not have to register for work to be eligible for benefits. When you filed your new or additional (reopened) claim, you were asked a question about returning to work and the date. If you answered that you have a return-to-work date with the same employer within 120 days from your last day of full-time work, you do not have to register for work.

If you get your job by going to a union hiring hall that assigns you to companies, you do not have to register for work unless the union hall has not reassigned you within 120 days from your last day worked.

NOTE: The Unemployment Insurance Agency is quite strict in its enforcement of the requirement to register with Michigan Works!

Appeals to Circuit Court and Higher Courts

State appeals board decisions in Michigan and most other states may be appealed to the circuit court nearest the employer or residence of the claimant and to appellate courts all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Practically speaking, few unemployment compensation cases are appealed beyond the state appeals board or circuit court.


Only the Agency can Determine Eligibility

Finally, and most important, only the unemployment agency can determine whether or not you are eligible and qualified for benefits, not your employer or your friends. Therefore, if you are in doubt, file a claim with the unemployment agency. Delay in filing for failure to file is likely to result in loss of rights and benefits. Moreover, simply talking with an agency representative does not protect your rights. You must file a claim and continue to certify for each week you are unemployed in order to protect your rights and benefits.


DISCLAIMER: Unemployment compensation statutes vary in significant respects from state to state. The above information and comments are based on my experience as a member of the Michigan Employment Security Board of Review (appeals board) and on my experience for the past several years representing claimants in administrative law judge (referee) hearings in Michigan. I am certified by the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency to represent claimants, but I am not a lawyer. My intention is to provide accurate and helpful information for claimants based on my experience in Michigan; however, I make no guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of the material on this website, and the content of this site is not specific legal advice for any individual.

Note: As of December 31, 2013 I have retired from representing claimants in unemployment compensation Administrative Law Judge hearings. Steve Baumer, who is a competent claimant representative in Administrative Law Hearings is joining me in maintaining this website, and is available to represent claimants as he has been doing successfully for nearly ten years. He may be reached by telephone on 586-212-4769.

CHIEF OF MICHIGAN UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY FIRED AMID FALSE FRAUD ALLEGATIONS (Detroit Free Press 1-6-17)

LANSING — The state on Thursday removed the director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency and announced a "top-to-bottom review" of the agency, which faces widespread public complaints, lawsuits and legislative scrutiny over false fraud allegations made against thousands of benefit applicants whose wages and tax returns were wrongly seized.

Sharon Moffett-Massey, who had been in charge of the agency since 2014, has been "reassigned," but will remain in leadership at the Talent Investment Agency, which includes the UI Agency, according to Talent Investment Agency Director Wanda Stokes..

Bruce Noll, the TIA's legislative liaison, will oversee the UI Agency while a national search is conducted for Moffett-Massey's replacement, Stokes said in a news release.

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/01/05/michigan-unemployment-insurance-agency/96205168/



Unemployment Compensation Fraud Fiasco Continues 3-3-17 Detrpoit Free Press

LANSING — A Republican lawmaker says the state should assess the costs and benefits of a $47-million computer system that falsely accused tens of thousands of Michigan unemployment insurance claimants of fraud and also improperly exposed the names, Social Security numbers and other personal information of up to 1.9 million claimants.

State officials have not said whether the problem was the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System (MiDAS), used to detect unemployment insurance fraud, or simply the way the state used the system.

In public statements over the last several months, and again on Thursday at a hearing before the House Oversight Committee, officials from the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency have not placed any specific blame for the false fraud allegations — which resulted in quadruple penalties, wage garnishes, seizure of income tax refunds, and personal bankruptcies — on the vendor that sold the state the MiDAS system, Fast Enterprises of Colorado.

The main problem was that the "programming allowed MiDAS to make discretionary findings without the intervention of a human," UIA Acting Assistant Director Bruce Noll told the committee Thursday. "That's what was missing."

Related:

Suit settled over false fraud claims against Michigan's jobless

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The agency continues to use MiDAS to detect unemployment fraud, despite a 93% error rate on automated fraud findings. But since about August 2015, a human must review and sign off on the findings before any further action is taken, officials say.

On the separate issue of unauthorized release of personal information, which began in October 2016 and was identified and corrected on Jan. 30 of this year, that problem was caused by a software update provided and performed by the vendor, Tiziana Galeazzi, general manager for talent and economic development in the Department of Technology, Management and Budget, told the committee Thursday.

The update affected information at Michigan companies that use third-party vendors to do their payroll. Authorized officials with access to MiDAS at those companies — generally top executives and human resources professionals — who would normally only have access to personal information about their own employees were able to access such information on employees at other affected companies. An investigation continues with the Michigan State Police, but so far no criminal intent or wrongdoing has been found, Galeazzi said. Those affected can request a free credit report by calling 877-322-8228.

Rep. Martin Howrylak, R-Troy, vice-chairman of the House Oversight Committee, called for a cost-benefit analysis of the MiDAS system to be completed and shared with lawmakers.

"That is something we would definitely want to look at doing," Galeazzi said.

Related:

Michigan unemployment ticks up to 5%

A phone call and e-mail seeking comment from Fast Solutions were not immediately returned Thursday.

After the meeting, Howrylak said he looks forward to review, but "there's no way on God's green Earth" the system has provided a cost benefit to the state, given the amount of time, money and effort now being used to rectify mistakes.

Howrylak said he's frustrated trying to establish accountability on the issue because key employees who were in place at the time the false fraud findings were made, between Oct. 1, 2013, and Aug. 7, 2015, have since been moved to other jobs. The two officials with responsibility for UIA who testified Thursday — Noll and Talent Investment Agency Director Wanda Stokes — were not connected with the agency when the false fraud findings were made.

"Everybody is innocent ... everybody is going to have clean hands," Howrylak said.

"I'm just really frustrated. It's an injustice to taxpayers, to employers and employees."

Noll said the agency continues to review about 28,000 fraud determinations that were made during the relevant period and expects to complete that review in June. The 93% error rate was found during an earlier review of about 22,000 separate fraud findings that had no human involvement. So far, the state has reimbursed about $6 million to people wrongly accused of fraud, Noll said.

The state has passed legislation to prevent a recurrence and recently settled a federal lawsuit that halted collections involving affected cases pending further review. A class-action lawsuit continues in state court.

The affected claims date back as far as 2007 because MiDAS was used to do a six-year "look back" at earlier claims.

The agency is undertaking a top to bottom shake-up of management responsibilities and job assignments, Stokes said.

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @paulegan4.

Attorney on Jobless Aid: The Michigan System is Flawed 4-28-16

LANSING -- An attorney suing the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, alleging it has wrongly accused tens of thousands of residents of fraud and unlawfully confiscated tens of millions of dollars in benefits and penalties, says an auditor general's report released last week that was highly critical of the agency supports her claims.

In the state's response to the report released April 21, "they're admitting (the state's unemployment insurance system) is flawed in the ways we're claiming it's flawed," Royal Oak attorney Jennifer Lord told the Free Press on Wednesday.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stevens is expected to rule soon on the state's motion to dismiss Lord's proposed class action. Arguments were heard on March 8.

The lawsuit, filed in 2015, alleges the automated system the agency uses for detecting and adjudicating unemployment insurance fraud "deprives UIA claimants of due process and fair and just treatment because it determines guilt without providing notice, without proving guilt and without affording claimants an opportunity to be heard before penalties are imposed."

The suit also alleges the state agency engages in unlawful collection practices when it seizes benefits and income tax returns and garnishes wages to collect the penalties it arbitrarily assesses.

In a motion filed in October, attorneys for the Unemployment Insurance Agency urged Stevens to dismiss the suit, saying the system worked the way it should because lead plaintiff Grant Bauserman appealed the agency's fraud determination against him and "the agency reconsidered its previous determinations and held Bauserman not liable for interest and penalties."

The state agency argued "Bauserman has been refunded all monies intercepted and he owes the agency no money," and therefore "there is no claim upon which relief may be granted."

But another client of Lord's, Daniel Di Gregorio, told the Free Press on Wednesday he's continued to receive letters from the UIA accusing him of fraud, even after Administrative Law Judge Stephen Goldstein threw out all allegations against him in February saying that by failing to specify details about its allegations against Di Gregorio, "the agency violate(d) the most rudimentary demands of due process of law."

Di Gregorio, a crane operator in the concrete business, said his wife Shirl took the lead in fighting the $33,000 demand he received from the state agency and "if it wasn't for my wife, I don't know what I would have done." He said he might have rolled over and found a way to pay the money.

Weeks after the judge ruled in her husband's favor, he received another payment demand from the agency, this time for $6,000, Shirl Di Gregorio said.

Lord said the report issued April 21 by Auditor General Doug Ringler supports her case because the audit details how the state's MiDAS (Michigan Integrated Data Automated System), introduced in 2013, arbitrarily makes fraud determinations based on answers to innocuous questions such as whether someone applied for benefits because they needed the money. The audit also details how the agency fails to spell out details that would allow claimants to defend themselves against fraud allegations, and says the agency fails to give proper notice of allegations and repeatedly sends notices to incorrect addresses even after letters have been returned as "undeliverable."

In each case, the agency agreed with the auditor's findings, though it says it has made changes. Di Gregorio's experience shows that even if methods have changed, similar results continue, Lord said.

Lord said she sees parallels with the state's conduct in the lead poisoning of Flint's drinking water: "The parallel I see is that there's a CEO mentality," in which the human element is ignored and "it's all based on the bottom line," she said.

Ken Silfven, a spokesman for the UIA, wouldn't comment on whether the auditor general's report supports Lord's allegations, citing the ongoing litigation.

But Silfven took issues with the Flint comparison and suggestions Gov. Rick Snyder places too much emphasis on the bottom line.

"To the contrary, the governor reminds his team constantly that everything we do is about serving people," Silfven said in an e-mail.

"I know that’s what motivates him as he does his job. That’s why he had the courage to lead the way on such things as the Healthy Michigan program. He’s driven by compassion and a clear sense of duty. It’s not just dollars and cents. He’s made clear time and again that we can never forget the human element when it comes to shaping programs or policy."

Contact Paul Egan: 517-372-8660 or pegan@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter

State unemployment agency's failures demand swift action

Detroit Free Press Editorial Board 12:07 a.m. EDT April 27, 2016Buy Photo

(Photo: Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press)

If government is a business, and taxpayers its customers, Gov. Rick Snyder's revamp of the state's unemployment agency is a colossal failure.

In 2009, the unemployment insurance fund was a mess, driven to the brink of insolvency by a spike in claims, thanks to the worst recession to hit Michigan since the 1980s. The state owed billions to the federal government for money borrowed to keep its unemployment insurance fund afloat. To bring more into the fund, it raised taxes on employers. And the recession was far from over.

After his 2010 election, Snyder took pride in cleaning up the unemployment fund.

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Audit rips Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency

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But the $47-million automated system the state purchased to make the agency more efficient has had what one law professor calls "grievous unintended consequences," spawning a class action, a rebuke from the state's auditor general and hardship for an unknown number of Michiganders, falsely accused of fraud, consigned to fight a seemingly intractable system.

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, a Royal Oak Democrat, has called on Snyder to re-examine all cases of fraud flagged by the automated system, and to repay Michiganders whose wages were garnished or tax returns were seized improperly. And legislation introduced last year would require the state to present more evidence for a fraud determination, and work more diligently to notify claimants they had been accused of fraud.

Last year, the unemployment agency stopped relying on the automated system, requiring staff to investigate findings of intentional misrepresentation. It's not enough.

We encourage the Legislature to pass the legislation posthaste -- and Snyder to press pause on fraud determinations made under the new system. Because 40% of fraud determinations have been overturned by administrative law judges -- and because the sums at stake can reach amounts large enough to crush a family hoping to recover from a period of unemployment -- the governor must order his unemployment agency to freeze ongoing garnishments and review extant fraud determinations.

The Michigan Integrated Data Automated System, called MiDAS, automated not just the claim filing process, but a review that scans for fraud. Out-of-work Michiganders whose claims don't match answers provided by their former employers were flagged by the system for fraud, and the state takes action to recoup improperly paid benefits, plus penalties.

But there's a problem: The system is flawed, claimants allege (and the state's response to such criticism has seemed to acknowledge) sometimes pursuing penalties from Michiganders who were entitled to the unemployment benefits they’d received.

Other claimants charged with fraud have been victims of computer programming errors that, for example, falsely distributed earnings -- reported in compliance with state law -- over an entire quarter, creating the incorrect impression that the claimant received benefits while working, according to an examination of the system last year by the Metro Times.

Because the state can seek stiff penalties for fraud -- and because it has almost unilateral authority to garnish wages of those determined to have committed fraud -- the sums paid out in unemployment insurance can be dwarfed by penalties and fines, spiking as high as $100,000, said Steve Gray, a University of Michigan law professor who leads a law clinic aimed at helping folks navigate unemployment law.

MiDAS processed about 1.4 million claims since 2013; it has established 46,638 fraud cases since then, unemployment agency spokesman Ken Silfven wrote in an e-mail. Of those, Silfven said, 60% of the fraud determinations were "at least partially affirmed." This, the state seems to view as positive. But flip that number: 40% of fraud determinations were overturned, and an even greater percentage have been partially overturned.

Silfven said that "most" fraud determinations were made after staff review, not solely by the system. Nonetheless, he said the agency halted "the process when fraud was determined without human intervention" in 2015, and that the agency takes such concerns seriously.

The auditor general found that the unemployment agency's efforts to notify Michiganders they had been found in violation of the law and had 30 days to appeal were inadequate. Nearly 10% of notices were returned by the post office as undeliverable, the audit found, but because the new notice would arrive past that 30-day deadline, the agency didn't bother to resend.

It's an incomprehensible rationale.

Take a moment to understand what all of this means: An automated system could, in error, determine that an out-of-work Michigander seeking unemployment benefits had committed fraud. A notice sent out could arrive at the wrong address, with the agency obligated to take no steps to ensure the notice was received. And so without that Michigander ever knowing he or she had been accused of fraud, the state could garnish that person's wages or tax return.

That happened to a Garden City man interviewed last summer by Michigan Radio. Because the agency sent notice of suspected fraud to the wrong address -- two years before it started garnishing his wages -- the man first became aware he'd been charged with fraud when money started disappearing from his paycheck. After he filed a late appeal, an administrative law judge cleared him of the fraud charge.

Claimants hoping to get information on the phone are similarly out of luck, the auditor general found. Over two months in 2014, 89% of claimants' calls to the agency went unanswered. (The agency, it is worth noting, defended itself by insisting that it only failed to answer 50% of calls.) More than 28% of callers placed on hold abandoned the calls.

This system is broken. But it can be fixed. Snyder and the state Legislature need to make this a top priority.

12-15-13Free Press "45,000 to Lose Benefits"

WASHINGTON — Some 45,000 Michiganders who are receiving unemployment checks through a federal program will lose them on the last week of December, now that members of the U.S. House are leaving town without making another extension.

Democrats in Congress — U.S. Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan chief among them — had been clamoring loudly for another extension of what’s known as Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or EUC, a program that adds 14 to 47 weeks of unemployment checks after regular state benefits are exhausted.

But Republicans who control the House adjourned for the December break Thursday without passing what would have been the 13th extension of the program since 2009. Some said the $25-billion cost of extending it is too high.

In Michigan, regular unemployment benefits and 36 available weeks of EUC provided for a total of 56 weeks of benefits. Without the extension, no claims for EUC benefits will be paid after those filed for the week of Dec. 28, and only the state’s maximum benefit of 20 weeks will be available.

Lynda Robinson of the state Unemployment Insurance Agency said Friday there were 44,889 Michiganders receiving EUC as of last month and that remains the best estimate of about how many people will lose those benefits at the end of December.

A notice of the expiration of the program is set to be mailed to beneficiaries next Wednesday.

After agreeing to past extensions, there was growing sentiment among House Republicans that the EUC has failed to generate new jobs and might help to keep unemployment higher than it would otherwise be by putting upward pressure on wages. Emergency Unemployment Compensation has cost more than $200 billion.

“This program still hasn’t produced the jobs the administration promised,” said U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. “In fact, recent academic studies show the program is hurting job creation.”

Camp, whose committee has oversight for unemployment insurance, cited what he called “real world experience in North Carolina. There, the program ended in July and the state has seen rapid job creation.”

“Clearly, it is time to focus on other policies that will actually lead to real economic growth and jobs for families,” he said.

Democrats counter that 1.3 million people nationally will lose their benefits under the program by the end of December and they say they will continue to press House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican leaders to pass an extension in 2014. But it may be a hard sell to Republicans, who say it’s time to end what was supposed to be a temporary measure started in response to the 2008-’09 recession.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration put out a report that says unemployment benefits remain one of the best tools for stimulating the economy, however, and that letting the federal program expire could hurt spending. The report said the national unemployment rate of 7% —Michigan’s was 9% in October — is high enough to warrant continuing the extra benefits.

“Historically we have never, never ended these emergency provisions when long-term unemployment has been as high as it is today,” Levin said on the House floor Thursday.

Contact Todd Spangler: 703-854-8947 or tspangler@freepress.com

Sixteen Ways to Avoid Losing Your Unemployment Appeal

SIXTEEN WAYS TO AVOID LOSING YOUR UNEMPLOYMENT APPEAL

Probably more unemployment compensation cases are lost than are won. "In most cases, you will not win unless the facts and the law are in your favor. It is possible, however, to bungle a potential winner." (William DeMartini, Chief Administrative Law Judge 1979-82, California UI Appeals Board)

The following list covers the most common mistakes parties make in appeal cases.

1. File your appeal on time. An appeal to the Board must be filed (in person at the Job Center or postmarked) within 15 calendar days of the mailing date of the decision. There are no provisions for extension of time and if you file late, you face a heavy burden in proving you were prevented from filing on time Also, it is strongly recommended that you state clearly the reasons for the appeal.

2. Prepare your case early and on the proper issues(s) You should identify the issue involved in the appeal and begin preparing for the hearing as soon as you learn of the appeal -either when you decide to appeal or when you receive a copy of another party's appeal.

Be careful not to overlook multiple issues in a decision. The claimant's benefit entitlement may be combined with an overpayment, or combine voluntary leaving and availability. Also check the hearing notice, as the referee may signal a need to consider a different section of law at the hearing than the one used by the Job Center, such as voluntary leaving instead of discharge, or Section 3 instead of 402 (e).

Time is very important. Secure your documents and witnesses immediately. If you wait until you receive notice of the hearing to seek counsel, your advocate will have far less time to prepare.

3. Plan to get right to the point at the hearing. As you prepare your case, remember that a clear and concise presentation is generally better. Avoid drowning your main point in a cascade of background material. Concentrate on the legal issues which control eligibility. Be sure you know who has the burden of proof; it governs how much you need to present.

4. If you have a problem with the hearing date, request a new hearing date promptly. Unless you face a dire unanticipated emergency, you will not be granted a last-minute change in hearing date.

5. Make early requests to subpoena witnesses whose attendance you cannot control. Subpoenas are up to you to serve. A subpoena served on a witness the day, or even the day before the hearing may be unenforceable.

6. Don't subpoena witness(s) against you. This happens more than you might think. Be sure you know each witness's testimony before bringing them to the hearing. Do not count on an adverse witness turning friendly because he or she is subpoenaed or under oath at the hearing.

7. When in doubt, present testimony. First-hand testimony is always better than a written statement or document. Moreover, a valid hearsay objection to a document may cause the referee to discount the document completely.

8. Show up on time. Do not count on a referee waiting beyond the scheduled time for you to appear. If you have a last minute emergency or an unforeseen delay en route, contact the referee office immediately.

Follow the advice on the hearing notice to arrive early. You can review the Job Canter documents in advance and avoid facing a "surprise from the file" during the hearing.

9. Present the eyewitness. This is one of the most common mistakes. Offering a witness who has no firsthand knowledge of the event in question is a waste of time and could cost you the case.

10. Object to hearsay evidence of the other side. They have the right to object to any evidence of yours which is hearsay, so you should object to theirs.

11. Present the key document. Be prepared to leave it with the referee. Photocopies are acceptable but bring along the original in case the other side tries to challenge it. If you do not possess a key document, it can be subpoenaed in the same manner as a witness.

12. Summarize voluminous written material. Evidence is judged on quality, not quantity. Submitting a bewildering stack of papers can hurt you rather than help you. If you feel you must, then at least prepare a summary to help the referee and Board take proper note of the items. Be aware, however, that the other side has a right to challenge your summary and to examine the original material from which the summary was compiled.

13. In questioning your witness, avoid leading questions. A leading question is one which suggests the answer, often a "yes" or "no". These types of questions detract from the credibility of the witness. In eliciting the direct testimony of your witness, ask short questions which allow the witness to relate a fact or describe an event in his or her own way. (You may ask leading questions when cross-examining a witness of the other party, however.)

14. Explain technical terms, occupational slang and strange customs of the trade. If it's not commonly understood outside of your business, trade or profession, explain it. Otherwise, you may confuse the referee, the Board and the courts (if it goes that far) and receive a disappointing decision.

15. Avoid excessive cross-examination. It is very rare for a party to make his or her case on cross-examination. More commonly, you can lose the case by unintentionally giving the witness the chance to repeat and elaborate upon all the adverse testimony just given. However, make sure any claimant statement, related to the issue being ruled on, and which is not considered factual, is refuted during the hearing.

16. Do not assume the referee knows every law enacted or every decision issued. You can reasonably assume the referee will know about a point of law in the unemployment field, but offering the referee copies of, or the citations to, unemployment court decisions related to your case would not hurt.

Statues and decisions outside of the unemployment field should be accurately cited, and a copy of the pertinent material provided if possible.

-- January 1996, Penn-Jersey Assn's "The Keystone"

Michigan Employers to Pay More Into Jobless Fund, Detroit Free Press 11-14-08

Unemployment Compensation Solvency Tax

40,000 Michigan employers will pay an extra $67.50 per employee in 2009 to pay off a $472.8 million shortfall in the unemployment benefits trust func, moneh the state borrowed from the federal  government to pay benefits to 650,000 people in 2008.

Don't deny unemployment insurance benefits to bought-out workers by Michael Harper and Joshua Riley

 

The article linked below will be of interest to workers who have accepted buy-outs. The authors point out that the law is not clear on whether workers who accept buy-outs are eligible for unemployment compensation benefits. The authors argue that while buyouts are often presented as "voluntary"' in effect, however, the workers to whom they are offered have limited volution. The offer in itself acts as a signal to the worker that a job is not secure. This signal is often received in a deteriorating economic climate. The resulting apprehension of job loss is coupled with the realization that a worker who refuses a buyout now may be jobless with no parting payment in the near future. Reat the entire excellent article here:

[Unfortunately the link is dead. The Detroit Free Press kills links to their articles after a brief period and charges an exorbitant fee for access to the material. Too bad!)



Governor Snyder's Recent Actions Undermine Unemployment Compensation When Michigan Needs it Most


Governor Snyder has recently taken actions that undermine Michigan’s unemployment compensation system. In June he signed a bill passed by the legislature which reduced the maximum duration of unemployment insurance benefits by 23%, from 26 weeks to 20 weeks. Twenty-six weeks has been the maximum benefit duration since the inception of the program. All other states continue to provide 26 weeks of benefits.

As if that weren’t enough, in July Governor Snyder signed an executive order abolishing the Board of Review (unemployment compensation appeals board) and moving the function to a new appeals body combining workers compensation and unemployment compensation appeals. Only two members of the current Board of Review were reappointed.

For many years the Board of Review has been composed, in accordance with the unemployment compensation statute, of five members--a chair person and four members appointed by the Governor for 4-year terms. Two of the members have been designated as “employer members” and two as “claimant members.” Experience representing employers was a requisite of appointment as an employer member and experience representing claimants was a requisite of being appointed a claimant member. These requirements were intended to assure fair consideration of the interests of claimants and employers in accordance with the purpose of the unemployment statute. This safeguard was dropped under Governor Snyder’s executive order which provides for a 9-member appeals body without a requirement of experience representing employers or claimants. In the current Republican administration there may be an employer thumb on the scales of justice, and perhaps toward claimants in a future Democratic administration. Thus, the governor’s executive order is unwise, short-sighted public policy, in my opinion.

Moreover, the Unemployment Insurance Agency recently announced that it will levy a 1 percent per month interest charge on benefit amounts determined to have been paid incorrectly and restitution ordered.

Protecting Wages in a Global Economy, NY Times Editorial 3-18-07

Published: March 18, 2007

Federal wage insurance is a pilot program for a small subset of workers, age 50 or older, who lose their jobs to trade competition. Under the program, a worker who takes a lower-paying replacement job can receive a government subsidy for two years, equal to 50 percent of the difference in earnings up to a total of $10,000, provided the new job pays less than $50,000 a year.

Congress is now examining whether wage insurance should be expanded to a national program and added to existing aid for the unemployed. There are some attractive aspects to the program. But it should not be the first priority in dealing with job loss. Given the nation's limited budget resources, it would be very difficult to incorporate wage insurance into the social safety net without cannibalizing other programs.

First, traditional unemployment insurance must be improved before wage insurance is expanded. A joint federal/state program, unemployment insurance is currently available to about 35 percent of workers and replaces, on average, about a third of their weekly earnings, usually for up to 26 weeks. Critics portray it as a license to loaf. But people who collect unemployment insurance generally find better-paying jobs than those who do not and are more likely to find jobs with health insurance. That is a strong argument in favor of expanding unemployment insurance, not curtailing or replacing it.

There is also no reason to believe that taxpayer dollars are better spent on wage insurance than on retraining for displaced workers. States and localities have had good results from retraining, which could be bolstered with federal support.

On the positive side, wage insurance could be a pragmatic response to the downward pressure on wages from globalization. Not everyone who loses a job in today's economy is able to find a comparable new one. Wage insurance would help keep displaced workers working and, possibly, help them to acquire new skills on the job. But there are still many unanswered questions about its efficacy.

So far, the issue has divided on predictable lines. House Republicans have introduced a bill that would let states use unemployment insurance funds to pay for wage insurance or other programs, like private employee accounts, that could be tapped in case of job loss. That would be good for free-market cheerleaders, but not for laid-off workers.

In contrast, a Democratic representative, Jim McDermott of Washington, has drafted two proposals. One, costing roughly $7.5 billion over five years, would expand unemployment insurance, to be paid for by extending an expiring federal unemployment tax on employers, equal to about $14 per worker per year. The other would allocate $3.5 billion a year to establish a national program of wage insurance, to be paid for by a new employer tax equal to about $40 per worker per year.

Congress should first proceed with improvements to unemployment compensation and then further explore the merits of direct job retraining and wage insurance. Ideally, the nation would be able to provide unemployment insurance, retraining and wage insurance. But lawmakers have to make tough choices. It's crucial to the economic well being of families that they choose well.

8-31-09 Detroit News Jobless Claims Overwhelm UIA

Jobless claims overwhelm state workers

Unemployment office's 800 workers ordered to log 140 overtime hours by year's end

Mark Hornbeck / Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing -- While most state workers are about to take their last unpaid furlough day, Unemployment Insurance Agency employees are racking up overtime.

The 800 employees, including call center and problem resolution staff, recently received a memo saying they'll have to put in 140 more hours of overtime before the end of the year to keep up with the crush of applications from Michigan's legions of jobless. They'll have to work seven Saturdays or holidays and then another 80-plus hours of overtime during regular workdays.

The overtime will cost $3.4 million, about $4,300 per employee, a tab picked up by the federal government.

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Michigan has an unprecedented 450,000 residents receiving unemployment compensation and "hundreds of thousands" waiting to get benefits, said Norm Isotalo, spokesman for the Unemployment Insurance Agency. The state's 15 percent jobless rate is the highest in the nation.

"We do need to get the work done," Isotalo said.

Call center phone line times have been expanded until 6 p.m., and offices are open longer, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., he said.

Staff members have been required to put in overtime for much of the year, Isotalo said, to cut down on waiting time.

Because of the flood of business, Unemployment Insurance Agency workers were not compelled to take the six furlough days required of more than 37,000 other state workers, whose last payless day will be Friday. It's not certain whether more furlough days will be required in the next fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 as a measure to help balance a budget that is $2.8 billion out of whack.

The unemployment office isn't the only help center trying to cope with increased demand.

The waiting lines are mounting for job training and tuition under the state's 2-year-old No Worker Left Behind program because there are more applicants than dollars.

While applications are being processed across most of the state, there are waiting lists in western Wayne and Monroe counties, said Andy Levin, deputy director of the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth. Most of the program is financed with federal grant money, and the state applied to the U.S. Department of Labor for $58 million in late June to address the need, Levin said. Officials are waiting for an answer.

People will be put into training as money becomes available, he added.

One contractor in southeastern Michigan who is handling No Worker Left Behind benefit requests erroneously sent e-mails to applicants earlier this month saying there is no money for the program, Levin said. He added that the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance, which is running the program in Wayne and Monroe counties, neglected to set up a waiting list.

"We're not sure why that happened, but it has been taken care of," he said.

Under the program, laid-off workers can get up to $10,000 for two years of tuition at a community college, four-year university or other approved training program. About 88,000 people have enrolled, Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said.

mhornbeck@detnews.com (313) 222-2470

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    • profile image

      Sherry 3 months ago

      What does the code mean 62(b) you are not disqualified for benefits and the code mean 29(1)(b) you are not disqualified for benefits

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
      Author

      Ralph Deeds 8 months ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      CHIEF OF MICHIGAN UNEMPLOYMENT AGENCY FIRED AMID FALSE FRAUD ALLEGATIONS (Detroit Free Press 1-6-17)

      LANSING — The state on Thursday removed the director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency and announced a "top-to-bottom review" of the agency, which faces widespread public complaints, lawsuits and legislative scrutiny over false fraud allegations made against thousands of benefit applicants whose wages and tax returns were wrongly seized.

      Sharon Moffett-Massey, who had been in charge of the agency since 2014, has been "reassigned," but will remain in leadership at the Talent Investment Agency, which includes the UI Agency, according to Talent Investment Agency Director Wanda Stokes..

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
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      Ralph Deeds 17 months ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      State unemployment agency's failures demand swift action

      Detroit Free Press Editorial Board 12:07 a.m. EDT April 27, 2016

      635972903435199957-DFP-feedback-genlets-1-1-4EA0MQME-L567574434.JPGBuy Photo

      (Photo: Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press)

      If government is a business, and taxpayers its customers, Gov. Rick Snyder's revamp of the state's unemployment agency is a colossal failure.

      In 2009, the unemployment insurance fund was a mess, driven to the brink of insolvency by a spike in claims, thanks to the worst recession to hit Michigan since the 1980s. The state owed billions to the federal government for money borrowed to keep its unemployment insurance fund afloat. To bring more into the fund, it raised taxes on employers. And the recession was far from over.

      After his 2010 election, Snyder took pride in cleaning up the unemployment fund.

      DETROIT FREE PRESS

      Audit rips Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency

      DETROIT FREE PRESS

      Suit: Michigan wrongly charging unemployment aid applicants

      But the $47-million automated system the state purchased to make the agency more efficient has had what one law professor calls "grievous unintended consequences," spawning a class action, a rebuke from the state's auditor general and hardship for an unknown number of Michiganders, falsely accused of fraud, consigned to fight a seemingly intractable system.

      U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, a Royal Oak Democrat, has called on Snyder to re-examine all cases of fraud flagged by the automated system, and to repay Michiganders whose wages were garnished or tax returns were seized improperly. And legislation introduced last year would require the state to present more evidence for a fraud determination, and work more diligently to notify claimants they had been accused of fraud.

      Last year, the unemployment agency stopped relying on the automated system, requiring staff to investigate findings of intentional misrepresentation. It's not enough.

      We encourage the Legislature to pass the legislation posthaste -- and Snyder to press pause on fraud determinations made under the new system. Because 40% of fraud determinations have been overturned by administrative law judges -- and because the sums at stake can reach amounts large enough to crush a family hoping to recover from a period of unemployment -- the governor must order his unemployment agency to freeze ongoing garnishments and review extant fraud determinations.

      The Michigan Integrated Data Automated System, called MiDAS, automated not just the claim filing process, but a review that scans for fraud. Out-of-work Michiganders whose claims don't match answers provided by their former employers were flagged by the system for fraud, and the state takes action to recoup improperly paid benefits, plus penalties.

      But there's a problem: The system is flawed, claimants allege (and the state's response to such criticism has seemed to acknowledge) sometimes pursuing penalties from Michiganders who were entitled to the unemployment benefits they’d received.

      Other claimants charged with fraud have been victims of computer programming errors that, for example, falsely distributed earnings -- reported in compliance with state law -- over an entire quarter, creating the incorrect impression that the claimant received benefits while working, according to an examination of the system last year by the Metro Times.

      Because the state can seek stiff penalties for fraud -- and because it has almost unilateral authority to garnish wages of those determined to have committed fraud -- the sums paid out in unemployment insurance can be dwarfed by penalties and fines, spiking as high as $100,000, said Steve Gray, a University of Michigan law professor who leads a law clinic aimed at helping folks navigate unemployment law.

      MiDAS processed about 1.4 million claims since 2013; it has established 46,638 fraud cases since then, unemployment agency spokesman Ken Silfven wrote in an e-mail. Of those, Silfven said, 60% of the fraud determinations were "at least partially affirmed." This, the state seems to view as positive. But flip that number: 40% of fraud determinations were overturned, and an even greater percentage have been partially overturned.

      Silfven said that "most" fraud determinations were made after staff review, not solely by the system. Nonetheless, he said the agency halted "the process when fraud was determined without human intervention" in 2015, and that the agency takes such concerns seriously.

      The auditor general found that the unemployment agency's efforts to notify Michiganders they had been found in violation of the law and had 30 days to appeal were inadequate. Nearly 10% of notices were returned by the post office as undeliverable, the audit found, but because the new notice would arrive past that 30-day deadline, the agency didn't bother to resend.

      It's an incomprehensible rationale.

      Take a moment to understand what all of this means: An automated system could, in error, determine that an out-of-work Michigander seeking unemployment benefits had committed fraud. A notice sent out could arrive at the wrong address, with the agency obligated to take no steps to ensure the notice was received. And so without that Michigander ever knowing he or she had been accused of fraud, the state could garnish that person's wages or tax return.

      That happened to a Garden City man interviewed last summer by Michigan Radio. Because the agency sent notice of suspected fraud to the wrong address -- two years before it started garnishing his wages -- the man first became aware he'd been charged with fraud when money started disappearing from his paycheck. After he filed a late appeal, an administrative law judge cleared him of the fraud charge.

      Claimants hoping to get information on the phone are similarly out of luck, the auditor general found. Over two months in 2014, 89% of claimants' calls to the agency went unanswered. (The agency, it is worth noting, defended itself by insisting that it only failed to answer 50% of calls.) More than 28% of callers placed on hold abandoned the calls.

      This system is broken. But it can be fixed. Snyder and the state Legislature need to make this a top priority.

    • profile image

      Odekirk 2 years ago

      Honorable Ralph Deeds,

      Hoping you can answer a question for me. I applied for UNDER employment and was disqualified 29(1)(a) with a rework requirement of $3096. What was surprised me about the determination is that it looks like unemployment is being very gracious to me - I filed on Nov 2nd but it looks like they are backdating my rework requirement to begin in the week ending Oct 4th. It looks like they be applying a pay continuation I received from my employer to my rework $ requirement. I think this because of the backdating where they go back to the day I exited the building. I gave notice on my job Sept 26th and they relieved me on that date (unemployment is saying that is my quit date), however my employer gave me a pay continuation through Oct 17th (so 3 weeks pay after I physically left - in a contract form). Does that makes sense? Here is my biggest question and what scares me. I've been reporting to Marvin & it looks like they are depositing some checks for me. Yikes. Should I just send this money back b/c it will be a few more weeks before I have satisfied my rework requirement? I don't know if l be entitled to funds based on my earnings AFTER I satisfy my rework, or once I finish my rework I will be entitled for those weeks past. The last thing I want is to be in hock with the government! Your site is a wealth of information, by the way, so thank you for posting this great informational resource.

    • profile image

      Scott 2 years ago

      That's pretty much what I thought as well, but I was just double checking because I thought in the past I remembered reading something about being able to quit within the first 30 days if I deemed the new job "unsuitable" but was unsure exactly what that meant. There is a very strong chance they are going to move me to a store that is roughly a 40 minute drive from where I live (versus 5 where I was at currently) but that wouldn't be until after the 4 week training period and I doubt a 40 minute drive counts anyway.

      Anyway like I mentioned before, I figured I would most likely have to tough it out and that is my plan. I should've followed my instincts and had my previous boss let me go before they officially took over (he would have) but I didn't because they told me the job there was mine.

      Thanks again for all your help.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
      Author

      Ralph Deeds 2 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      In my opinion, It will be hard for you to qualify for UC if you quit, assuming the new assignment does not require you to travel an unreasonable distance to and from work. If I were you I would give it a try while looking for another job and quit only after finding one.

    • profile image

      Scott 2 years ago

      Hello Mr Deeds,

      Once again I am in need of advice. I have been running a franchised restaurant for a couple years now. The owner decided to retire and sold it to corporate. I was told by them that I would still be their General Manager (which sounded great as there was an expected pay raise, bonus eligibility, and much better benefits). So not even 2 weeks later I'm told that next week I will begin a four week training process and then move to another restaurant where I will no longer be a General Manager and instead will be an assistant. They are keeping my salary the same as I am currently receiving without raise and I will still get better benefits but now I am uncomfortable staying because without going into details I have basically been lied to for the past 10 days.

      Anyway, my question is: am I stuck? I have not quit or anything but is there anyway to separate and get unemployment? I know it may sound nuts considering I still have a job but I have worked for this company in the past and they were dishonest then also and now have already been dishonest and quite frankly I'm scared they are going to try and muscle me out somehow while avoiding UC eligibility (they're pretty adamant about fighting UC claims).

      Long story short, what can, or should, I do?

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
      Author

      Ralph Deeds 3 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      7-27-14NYTimes "North Carolina's Misunderstood Cut in Unemployment Benefits" by Justin Wolfers

      Log In - The New York Times

      "The point of unemployment insurance isn’t to boost the economy as a whole, but rather to ensure that an unlucky few don’t shoulder an unbearable burden. Whether we’re doing that is a question more of values than of economic statistics."

      http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/27/upshot/north-car...

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
      Author

      Ralph Deeds 3 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
      Author

      Ralph Deeds 3 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks. Please do.

    • profile image

      Scott 3 years ago

      It sounds like she would be eligible based on those precedents. Her situation is very similar. They assign her caseload, she has to report to the office periodically, and it would be their decision to not give her further assignments.

      Thanks again for all the great information. If she does in fact lose her job and files, I will let you know the outcome.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
      Author

      Ralph Deeds 3 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Although your friend and her employer consider her a "contract employee" she may actually be an employee eligible for unemployment benefits under the statute. Determinations of eligible employee status under the unemployment compensation statute are made by applying the "economic reality test" as follows:

      SUPREME COURT HOLDING: In lieu of granting leave to appeal the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals and trial court and reinstated the Board of Review decision because that decision was supported by competent, material and substantial evidence. The Board found the proper test to be applied is the "economic reality" test.

      FACTS: Claimant, an emergency room physician, had an oral contract with the employer. Compensation was $25 per hour or 85% of the patient billings attributed to the claimant, whichever was greater. Taxes were not withheld, nor did he receive fringe benefits. The equipment, medication and instruments were provided by the hospital.

      DECISION: The services involved were employment as defined by Section 42 of the MES Act

      RATIONALE: The "economic reality" test looks to the totality of the circumstances surrounding the work performed and focuses on the relationship of the worker and his work to the employer's business operation. See McKissic v Bodine, 42 Mich App 203 (1972). The claimant was not subject to any control as to the manner in which he performed his professional services for any given patient but could assess fees therefor only within the limits prescribed by the hospital and who was obligated to report for work and continue working at such times and throughout such periods as directed by the hospital. He could not hire or fire anyone who assisted him but instead had to accept those provided by the hospital and, at least understood, that he could not perform professional services elsewhere. The claimant's services were a part of a larger common task, i e., the provision of hospital care to those in need. He was not an independent contractor.

      11/90

      1, 5:NA

      Here's another case:

      Employer: Capital Carpet Cleaning and Dye Company, Inc.

      Docket No. L80-03459-R01-1683

      COURT OF APPEALS HOLDING: Whether a business is an employer of a worker for purposes of the MES Act depends upon the economic reality of their relationship; under the economic reality test, among the factors to be used are (1) control of the worker's duties, (2) the payment of wages, (3) the right to hire and fire and the right to discipline, and (4) the performance of the duties as an integral part of the employer's business towards the accomplishment of a common goal.

      FACTS: Carpet cleaners worked under a contractual agreement with Capital Carpet [CC]. They reported to CC every morning and received work assignments for the day. The cleaners used CC's office to make appointments.

      The cleaners received a commission which ranged from 50-60%. All income was turned over to CC and the cleaners were given a paycheck. Income and social security taxes were not withheld. The cleaners rented equipment and purchased chemicals from CC. The costs were deducted from their paychecks. They could purchase their own equipment but chemicals had to be purchased from CC.

      The cleaners were in control of the jobs themselves, were not supervised by CC and were responsible for hiring and paying their own help. The cleaners were encouraged to wear CC T-shirts. The cleaners represented themselves as associated with CC's business and promoted that business. None of the cleaners cleaned on their own or for any other company.

      DECISION: The cleaners were employees for MESA purposes.

      RATIONALE: CC controlled the overall direction of the cleaners' employment situation. Moreover, CC paid their wages, and the work done was so integral to CC's business, neither could exist without the other. In light of the principals of the "economic reality" test, it was clear they were employees.

      7/99

      5, 6, d1: N/A

      Previous Page

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      Scott 3 years ago

      Thanks Ralph, however I think I should clarify: She does not work for a temp agency at all. She works for the same company where she worked full time, just on a contractual (non employee -1099) basis, as opposed to being an actual employee there. It hasn't happened yet but she's heard rumors that the company may do away with all of their contractual workers. Should this happen and they don't offer her a permanent position, would she be eligible?

      Thanks again for all your help.

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      Ralph Deeds 3 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      I hesitate to predict that someone will be eligible because there are "fish hooks" in the law. However, provided she notifies her employer promptly that she has been laid off she should be eligible for benefits. Here's information on the requirements:

      TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT AGENCIES

      The Michigan unemployment statute provides that anyone who is employed by a temporary help firm is obligated to notify the temporary help firm of the termination of an assignment with a client of the temporary help firm within 7 days of the end of the assignment, provided he was notified in writing of this obligation by the temporary help firm before the employee began performing services for the client.

      Failure to notify the temporary help firm of the end of an assignment causes many claimants to be disqualified from receiving benefits. Many employees are required to sign several papers when they start an assignment or sign up with a temp agency. They receive a job with a client of the agency and work for months or even years and then are laid off. By then they have forgotten that they were notified of their obligation to notify their temporary agency that their assignment has ended with the result that they are disqualified from receiving benefits.

      COMMENT: The requirement to notify temp agencies, in my opinion, is very unfair to claimants and should be stricken from the Act. Notifying the temp agency should be the obligation of the client employer, not the employee. Or, at very least, the client employer should be obligated to notify the employee, in writing, at the time the assignment ends, of his or her obligation to call the temp agency within 7 days and inform the agency that their assignment has ended. Moreover, a phone call is sometimes not enough to avoid disqualification. I have seen cases where the temp agency failed to record a phone notification. And some unscrupulous temp firms who have been notified by phone deny in appeal hearings that they have been notified. If I were a temp employee whose assignment came to an end I would follow up my phone call with a notification by a fax or registered letter. The notification provision in the statute is badly in need of change in my opinion.https://hubpages.com/business/Unemployment_Compens...

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      Scott 3 years ago

      Hey Ralph, A friend of mine had a full time position as a social worker. She voluntarily switched to a contractual position so she could spend more time with her family. She has been doing that for nearly a year now. She has recently heard the the company may be releasing all of their contractual social workers. If this happens and she loses her position, would she be eligible for UC?

      P.S. I know it's been a while but I never thanked you for the above references and insight on a different friend's job loss over testing positive for marijuana. She ended up getting her job back.

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      Ralph Deeds 3 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      2-28-13NYTimes EDITORIAL "No Cheer for the Jobless"

      No Cheer for the Jobless - NYTimes.com

      Federal unemployment benefits expire while Congress enjoys a holiday.

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      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      I'm in Oregon for a family reunion and don't have access to my case book.

      The answer might depend on whether the individual was already receiving unemployment compensation when he or she left town or quit to leave. For people who quit, the basic rule is you aren't eligible for benefits unless there is good cause ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE EMPLOYER. And the good cause bar is pretty high. Indi viduals who are already receiving benefits and move within the state for personal reasons may be eligible. Individuals who move for personal reasons to another state may also be eligible. I'll check on these two latter situations when I get home next week. Also, the rules vary somewhat from state to state. My knowledge is based on my experience in Michigan.

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      ReuVera 4 years ago from USA

      Hi Ralph, I know it is a very old hub and maybe you even do not check on it.... But I was asked a question that i have no idea about, so i promised to ask a specialist....

      If a person moves out of his town because of family situation ( to be close to another family members to care for an old parent together), would he be eligible for work comp benefits?

      If you can answer it..... Thanks.

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      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      The statute provides for a confirmatory test as follows:

      421.29.9 (m)..."If the worker disputes the, result of the testing, a generally accepted confirmatory test shall be administered, and the test and the test shall also indicate a positive result for a controlled substance before a disqualification of a worker..."

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      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      In Baker v Hancor, Inc, the Saginaw Circuit Court ruled that the claimant was not disqualified because:

      Rationale: "A proper foundation must be laid for admitting documentary evidence at a MESC hearing. See generally, Vulcan Forging col v Employment Security Comm, 368 Mich 594 (1962). In this case, the referee admitted the report without proper foundation being lakd" The employer failed to present a witness with personal knowledge to testify how the test was performed. The evidence that the claimant ingested drugs in violation of the employer's policy was inadmissible."

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      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Here are some cases that might apply:

      DISCHARGE, Drug testing, Evidence

      CITE AS: Sullivan v MESC, No. 88-15431-AE, Monroe Circuit Court (November 20, 1989).

      Appeal pending: No

      Claimant: Susan Sullivan

      Employer: Manpower Inc. of Southeastern Michigan

      Docket No: B84 10878 98346, et al

      CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: One unconfirmed drug test is not enough to satisfy the burden of proving that drugs were used by the claimant and does not conclusively establish acts of misconduct connected with her work.

      FACTS: Claimant was an employee of Manpower, Inc. and was assigned to work at Detroit Edison's Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant as a procedure writer. In compliance with Edison's requirements, all Manpower employees were required to submit to a drug screen of a urine sample. Manpower reserved the right to make employment decisions based on an analysis of the sample. The claimant submitted a specimen which was subject to an immunoassay procedure which revealed a "presumptively positive" result for the presence of marijuana. Although more reliable, no confirmatory test by gas chromatography, radioimmuno-assay, or high pressure liquid chromatography was performed. The claimant was discharged as a result of the test.

      DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits.

      RATIONALE: The Court adopted the opinion of the dissenting members of the Board of Review which noted that no evidence of use, possession or impairment from illegal drugs was presented and which emphasized that the employer's physician witness acknowledged that a "presumptively positive" result from the immunoassay procedure should be confirmed by other testing methods.

      12/91

      3, 13, 4; d11, 14:E

      Here's another which involved re-testing

      MISCONDUCT, Drug testing, Treatment program

      CITE AS: Breeding v Layne-Northern Co, Berrien Circuit Court No. 96-3726-AE-T (February 24, 1997)

      Appeal pending: No

      Claimant: Carl R. Breeding

      Employer: Layne-Northern Company

      Docket No. B95-11686-138540

      CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: An employee's refusal to participate in an EAP when participation is required for the employee to return to work, is disqualifying misconduct.

      FACTS: The employer suspended and later discharged the claimant for testing positive on a random drug screen for marijuana and for refusing to participate in an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The employer had a random drug testing policy pursuant to Department of Transportation regulations. Under the employer and DOT policy, if an employee tested positive for drugs, the employee is suspended and must participate in an EAP to return to work. The employer allowed an employee with a positive drug test to have the sample retested at the employee's expense if the retest was positive. The claimant denied using marijuana but did not request a retest. The claimant met with a counselor. The counselor concluded the claimant had a drinking problem rather than a drug abuse problem. The counselor recommended the claimant attend drug counseling and AA meetings. The claimant refused.

      DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for benefits under Section 29(1)(b).

      RATIONALE: The phrase "work connected" is not to be narrowly construed so as to apply only to misconduct occurring at the workplace. Parks v MESC, 427 Mich 224, 238 (1986). The claimant's refusal to participate in an EAP resulted in his inability to return to work. These actions were misconduct in wilful or wanton disregard of the employer's interests.

      The claimant raised a number of constitutional issues on appeal to the circuit court that had not been before the Referee or Board of Review. The court declined to consider those issues as its scope of review was limited only to questions of law and fact on the record before the Referee and Board of Review.

      7/99

      24, 16, d12: K

      MISCONDUCT, Drug testing, Evidence, Hearsay

      CITE AS: Sortor v Ford Motor Company, Monroe Circuit Court No. 94-2456-AE (April 4, 1995)

      Appeal pending: No

      Claimant: Richard E. Sortor, Sr.

      Employer: Ford Motor Company

      Docket No. B93-05392-126985W

      CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: A drug test report is admissible hearsay since it is evidence of the type commonly relied on by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs and carries an inherent reliability for administrative purposes.

      FACTS: On February 29, 1992, the employer disciplined the claimant for illegal substance use and suspended him for a month. The employer required the claimant to sign a waiver allowing the employer to administer random drug tests during the next twelve month period. The waiver provided that if the claimant failed a subsequent drug test he would be discharged. On February 5, 1993, the employer discharged claimant after he failed a random drug test administered pursuant to the waiver. The claimant maintained he was taking a medication that interfered with the test results. A confirmation test was performed, which resulted in a positive finding.

      DECISION: The claimant is disqualified for benefits under Section 29(1)(b).

      RATIONALE: The claimant alleged the drug test reports were inadmissible hearsay because the employer failed to establish a proper foundation for admission. An administrative agency may consider evidence of a type commonly relied on by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. MCL 24.275; Spratt v Dept of Social Services, 169 Mich App 693 (1988). The court found that the "drug test is evidence of the type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs." The court noted that the "urine test is of the type commonly relied upon by Employers for the detection of illegal substances in the body when employees have previously been disciplined for drug use while on the job." The court concluded "the tests carry an inherent reliability for administrative purposes." The claimant's violation of the waiver demonstrates a "disregard of standards of behavior which the employer has the right to expect of his employee."

      7/99

      24, 17, d12: B

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
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      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      The law deals very harshly for people who fail drug tests, even for marijuana. She will not be eligible for benefits unless a flaw can be found in the test procedure. Re-tests are allowed under come circumstances. I'm a little rusty on that and will have to do a little research. I'll see what I can find.

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      Scott 4 years ago

      Hey Ralph, you've given me great advice on here in the past with two of my own cases and information for neighboors as well. After going through two hearings myself and advising others I kind of consider myself a UC guru, or at least "someone who knows what they're talking about" haha. One area I don't have experience with, however, is how umemployment law applies to drug tests, so I'm asking the real guru ;).

      Anyway, a friend of mine just lost her job because of a positive drug screen. The circumstances are like this: She's a great employee where she works and has been there for nine years. They decided to promote her to a manager and she had to submit to a drug screen. So she went to Concentra for her screen and 2-3 weeks later her boss informed her that she tested positive for marijuana and therefore was being terminated. She told me that she has asked them if she can retest and is waiting to find out. Is she eligible for UC?

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      Greg 4 years ago

      Thanks Ralph, I appreciate your input

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      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Yes. It's possible, but the odds are against getting the decision by the ALJ or an appeal decision by Appellate Commission reversed. However, it doesn't cost anything to try.

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      Greg 4 years ago

      Ralph, we spoke a week or two ago and I misplaced your phone number. Is it possible to get a fair rehearing by the Appellate Board?

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      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      You have a right to a telephone hearing when you appeal to an administrative law judge. You should be prepared to testify that you submitted doctors' statements for you absences. It might be worthwhile to attempt to contact your doctor to see if you can bet come records.

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      Kelly 4 years ago

      Ralph -- I am no longer in Michigan. After I was fired I had to be relocated by my husband's parents to Montana so there is no way for me to be able to get back there for a hearing. I have printouts of my attendance but no longer have the doctor's notes as I turned them into the employer. I plan on faxing in my protest as soon as I receive a copy of the handbook so I am able to point out specific references to things. After that, I'm not sure how long it will take to get a decision on the protest. Hopefully this can be resolved soon because I've not had any luck looking for work here either. thanks for your input.

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      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      You should request a redetermination and, if it's unfavorable, request a hearing before a administrative law judge. If you are in Michigan get an advocate to assist you in preparing for the hearing and in your testimony at the hearing. The judges frown on attendance point systems which don't take into account the reasons for absences. Being absent is not misconduct. A finding of disqualifying misconduct requires being absent without a valid reason. It sounds to me as if you had good reasons for your absences. Be sure to bring any evidence (statements from your doctor, etc.) establishing this to your hearing. Good luck.

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      Kelly 4 years ago

      Here is my situation. I worked for a company for 5 years. I was recently fired and filed for unemployment. My unemployment was denied. " you were discharged for excessive violations of the employer's attendance policy. It is found that you were fired for a deliberate disregard of your employers interest (MES ACT, SEC 29 (1) (b). My employer works on a point system and when I was fired I had 5 points on my record out of a 10 point system. They "suspend pending investigation" at 9 points and I never hit that mark. As a matter of fact I had gotten perfect attendance for the last quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. I had doctor's excuses to cover most of my absences due to the fact that I have an 18 month old son and a husband that was diagnosed with Marfan syndrom at the beginning of this year. The last call off was on a Wednesday. My husband reported me off work due to me being sick. With my days off being Thursday and Friday; I returned to work on Saturday and was suspended pending investigation, eventhough I told them I was going to be filing for FMLA. According to the determination I was fired due to excessive violations, but according to the HR department I was fired for someing called "patterned absence" (which to them is 2 or more identical occurances within a 90 day period." dr's notes do not matter). Considering my last 3 call-offs were for a surgical procedure for my husband and me getting the flu twice, what are my chances on winning a protest. I have been waiting for 7 weeks so far. I am the only income, have been evicted and had my car reposessed so far. I now live in the state of Montana due to the fact that is where my husband is from and had no place else to go. Oh, I just received my determination in the mail yesterday. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you Oh and thethe occurances were 1 call-off in May (surgery) then the last 2 in July (flu)

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      joe 4 years ago

      Okay. Thanks!

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
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      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      My understanding is that if your former employer does not respond to questions from the Unemployment Agency, the Agency will simply base its decision on the facts you furnish them.

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      joe 4 years ago

      Hi Ralph. Im currently waiting to find out if I can continue to receive unemployment benefits on a previous claim . I told the unemployment agency my story and they attempted to get the side of the story from the employer, but the employer never responded. When I called the unemployment agency to see what was going on since I hadn't heard anything back they said that they couldn't get into contact with the employer and that they will try again. I'm guessing that this employer is not responding because they are not liable to pay benefits because if I am approved it will simply be a continuation of my previous claim (this is not a new claim since i was only there 6 weeks). My question is, would I potentially win by default if they don't offer there input on the manner and they obviously wouldn't take the time to fight me in court since they have no benefit or cost from either winning or loosing the case? I'm confused as to how this one is going to play out. Any input you could provide on this manner would be appreciated.

      Thanks,

      Joe

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      BLK 5 years ago

      One other quick question. My determination and redetermination said I owed $32,112. After I recieved my determination but before I appealed I recieved a bill stating that the current overpayment balance due is $12,564. After I received my redetermination but before I appealed to the law judge, I recieved a bill stating that the current overpayment balance due is $5,105. Do you have any idea why the bills were not for the determination amount?

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      BLK 5 years ago

      Mr Deeds

      I am BLK from 4 month ago.

      I appealed my determination and received a redetermination stating basically the same thing as the determination. (You are the owner of the business and should not be receiving benefits. You state that you informed the agency that you work in family employment, however when you filed your wage report every quarter it was never reported as family employment. In addition you never tried to contact the agency if you thought you were being overpaid.)

      My accountant fills out my quarter reports, I sign them and send them in. I was not aware that they had to be marked family employment and my accountant did not mark them. I did always file for benefits indicating that it was family employment. They say that if I thought I was being overpaid I should have contacted the agency, I did not think I was being overpaid I filed everything correctly I thought.

      I appealed to the law judge and have a telephone hearing Aug. 1. Do I have any chance of this being changed? Is there anything I should prepare for or be aware of? How does the law judge make his decisions, is it based on the facts that are before him is there lots of questioning?

      Thanks

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      Joe 5 years ago

      That's quite alright. Thanks for your response!

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      I'm not positive of the answer. I believe that your earnings in 2011 would count, but I'm not sure. Sorry.

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      Joe 5 years ago

      Ralph, I have one other question. If I just filled a new claim would my benefits only be based on the compensation I've earned in 2012 or 2011 as well? Also, would the benefits compensation I've earned on Unemployment count toward that amount?

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      Joesloma 5 years ago

      Sounds good. Thanks a lot!

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Your case is in a gray area. The basic law is that when you quit you don't get unemployment compensation UNLESS you can prove that there was "good cause attributable to your employer" which would cause a reasonable person to quit. The bar for "good cause" is pretty high. Clear examples are being required to do something unsafe or dishonest, racial or other discrimination and the like. Being required to work 72 hours a week for very long sounds unreasonable to me. It might or might not qualify. I can see how that many people would find that stressful if it went on very long. It would help if you were stressed to the point that you saw a doctor or could produce some evidence of your mental and or physical stress. It would also be helpful if you made your stress known to your employer and requested relief from the overtime hours. In Michigan the law requires that before quitting, in most cases, you have to make the problem known to your employer and give him an opportunity to correct it.

      You have nothing to lose by applying for benefits even though the odds may be less than 50-50. Good luck.

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      Joe 5 years ago

      Ralph, I was on unemployment for 10 months and then I found a job that I worked at for 6 weeks, but then I quit because I was working 12 hours a day/6 days a week and got over stressed to the point of feeling ill. Would I be able to get my unemployment benefits again under these circumstances do you think or not? Please let me know....... Thanks

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Americans are receiving their final unemployment checks sooner than they expected, even though Congress renewed extended benefits until the end of the year.

      The checks are stopping for the people who have the most difficulty finding work: the long-term unemployed. More than five million people have been out of work for longer than half a year. Federal benefit extensions, which supplemented state funds for payments up to 99 weeks, were intended to tide over the unemployed until the job market improved.

      In February, when the program was set to expire, Congress renewed it, but also phased in a reduction of the number of weeks of extended aid and effectively made it more difficult for states to qualify for the maximum aid. Since then, the jobless in 23 states have lost up to five months’ worth of benefits.

      Next month, an additional 70,000 people will lose benefits earlier than they presumed, bringing the number of people cut off prematurely this year to close to half a million, according to the National Employment Law Project. That estimate does not include people who simply exhausted the weeks of benefits they were entitled to.

      Separate from the Congressional action, some states are making it harder to qualify for the first few months of benefits, which are covered by taxes on employers. Florida, where the jobless rate is 8.7 percent, has cut the number of weeks it will pay and changed its application procedures, with more than half of all applicants now being denied.

      The federal extension of jobless benefits has been a contentious issue in Washington. Republicans worry that it prolongs joblessness and say it has not kept the unemployment rate down, while Democrats argue that those out of work have few alternatives and that the checks are one of the most effective forms of stimulus, since most of it is spent immediately.

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      1. It's not true that the hearings always are in the employer's favor. Judges rule fairly often in favor of claimants.

      2. If you are in Michigan it will be to your advantage to use the Agency's Advocacy Program and get an advocate to assist you in preparing for the hearing and in your testimony at the hearing.

      3. All you can do is look the judge in the eye and answer your advocate's and the judge's questions truthfully.

      4. It sounds to me like you were laid off and should be entitled to benefits. It would be helpful if you can recall the date, time and name of the person who told you your services were no longer needed.

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      Mark 5 years ago

      Mr.Deeds

      I won't take all your time up with my story I'll cut right to it my employer told me I could take sometime off work and while I was on break I was called and told my services were no longer needed so I got my unemployment started now after all these months we are going to a hearing they are saying I just never came back how or what can I do to prove I am telling the truth?Everyone I've talked to said I have no chance that the hearings are always in the employer favor.I got a paper in the mail that they got one of the same people who rep us in the hearing to rep them as well I thought they would have their own lawyer???What can I do to help myself here???

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Lilyana, If you have no way to get to the hearing you can call the judge's office and request a telephone hearing. However, I don't think your chances are good for the judge finding you eligible for benefits. With few exceptions when you quit your job, unless there is a good reason attributable to the employer, or you requested a family leave for child birth and were refused, you are not eligible for benefits. Sorry I'm not able to give you a more optimistic answer.

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      Lillyana 5 years ago

      Hello Ralph,

      I have been going through your list of questions to try and find one close to mine but can not,so here goes...I quit my job to move 40 miles away because I lost my home,I don't have a drivers license to be able to get to and from work I let my job know however they were not willing to work with me.I have to be at a hearing next week,one I have no way to get there so I was woundering if they work with people in my situation and two if you think I even have a chance.I know everyone says if you quit your not going to get anything but do they take time to look and see sometimes people have no other options? Thank you for any help you can give me.

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Well, Section 29(1)(a) Voluntary Leaving covers resignations, quits and "job abandonment." An employee who resigns is not eligible for unemployment benefits unless there is "good cause attributable to the employer" for example, asking the employee to do something unlawful or immoral or work in unsafe conditions. The law won't help you if you quit to take care of your father which is admirable but not a reason attributable to your employer. Sorry I'm not able to be more optimistic.

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      Andrea 5 years ago

      So I called today and what I was told is they are saying it was job abandenment.I asked the uia rep if they can even file that because they are not on my claim and she said yes anyone can file against you at anytime for any reason which I dont understand.Also I'm like how do I prove that I moved to take of my father who is ill and cant take of himself.I gave them notice and they said they understood but the company they sent me to was not willing to hold my job.I know I dont have a chance I just wanted to come and let you know what I found out and thank you for everything.

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      It appears to me that your former employer is appealing your eligibility, claiming you were fired for misconduct (which is defined in the law as intentional disregard of your employer's interest which can be one serious offense or repeated minor offenses after warnings.) I don't see where failure to report earnings or fraud comes into the picture. As I recommended, sign up an advocate and follow his or her advice.

    • profile image

      Andrea 5 years ago

      Here is what it says Notice of Hearing Appellant:Employer

      Issues involved:Determination

      sec 29(1)(b) claimant is not disqualified as a result of a discharge for misconduct connected with work

      Section 29(1)(a) Voluntary leaving may apply parties aare to fax any documents received by or submitted to the agency to the hearing

      Section 20(a) credit to employer may apply

      Section 62(a) restitution/improper payments may apply

      Sec 32(1) appeal has by passed redetermination & is being sent directly to hearing from determination

      The thing I don't understand is the manpower claim was not approved I have the letter I went back on my euc claim.And the other thing that is throwing me off is for the employer contact number it list a wage reporting company.If it was for the wages wouldn't they list that in my reasons for the hearing??I really want to thank you for your fast reply and for going out of your way to help me...Bless you and your Family Ralph

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      I might be able to better understand your case if you provided the wording of the agency's determination, redetermination and the "Issues" at the bottom of the Notice of Hearing.

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      Andrea 5 years ago

      I got a notice that manpower is the one requesting the hearing and the issues are 20(a) 62(a) and 32a(1).I never got any notice that says I have to repay anything back but when I typed in the number for the employer it came up as a wage/hour worked service you can google it if you want 800-366-6660.My claim is not even including the time I worked at manpower.I dont really have a clue thats the only thing I can come up with.Well and the fact that uia website says if its a hearing for fraud they will mail the letter out 20 days in advance.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      It's not exactly accurate to say that you are being "charged" with anything. Those are the paragraphs of the unemployment compensation statute which define the issues which may be discussed at the hearing which will determine your eligibility for benefits and whether or not you will be required to repay any of the benefits which you have received. It's not clear to me whether the hearing was requested by you, by your former employer or by the unemployment agency. Have you received a notice from the agency stating that you are obligated to repay benefits that you received?

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      Andrea 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for all your help I'm trying to get phone records and everything together too I just pray that the judge will be understanding but with so many people trying to scam things I just know its going to be hard for the judge to think of me any diffrent but all I can do is be honest.Also with the info that was on my paper the 20(a) 62(a) and the 32a(1) does that mean thats what I'm being charged with?

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Andrea, my understanding is that you would obligated to repay only the for which you failed to report income. If the judge decides your failure to report the earnings was intentional you will be required to repay triple the benefits for the weeks you failed to report earnings. The repayments may be made by a 20% deduction from future benefits, by a direct payment (one payment or by instalments) or by taking any future Michigan income tax refunds for which you may become eligible. And, yes, it might be helpful for your friend to come to the hearing and testify as to what the Agency rep said. It would be very helpful if you can convince the judge that you were following the instruections, as you understood them, of the Agency rep to whom you spoke.

    • profile image

      Andrea 5 years ago

      Thank you Mr.Deeds for your quick reply back I don't know 100% sure fraud is the reason but thats the only thing I know I did and the paper that I got has a 366-6660 number as my employer number and thats a wage company and the reasons my paper list are 29(1)(a) I was not discharged for mis conduct with work voluntary leaving my apply.20(a) credit employer 62(a)restitution may apply 32a(1).I dont understand what I'm being charged with there is no real issue on here.Also I read online that if its fraud it gets mailed out 20 day early and thats how mine got mailed out.Also what would I have to pay back all of the weeks I collected or just the weeks I did not report my income?And would it help to bring the other person that spoke to the rep also?Thank you again for all your help

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Andrea, you asked quite a few questions. It's hard to advise you without knowing more about your case. First, Although the law provides for criminal penalties for fraud my impression is that these penalties are rarely invoked. Failure to report earnings is considered a serious matter and as you have been informed can result in having to make triple restitution for the benefits received as a result of intentional fraud/failure to report earnings. Based on what you have said your best chance would be to convince the judge that your failure to report earnings was NOT INTENTIONAL and resulted from a misunderstanding on your part, if that is the truth.

      You will be required to testify under oath at the hearing in response to questions from your advocate and the judge. It will be to your benefit to obtain an advocate to assist you in preparing for the hearing and in your testimony at the hearing. You should receive a list from the unemployment agency of advocates available to assist you without charge. Good luck.

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Bobso, without knowing more about your case it's hard to advise you other than to recommend that you should sign up with an advocate to assist you at the hearing. You will receive a list of advocates from the Unemployment Agency a week or so before the hearing. An hour is allotted for each hearing. You and the employer witnesses will have an opportunity to testify under oath. The hearings are tape recorded in case either party appeals to the Appellate Commission in Lansing. You should bring copies of all pertinent documents to the hearing, and make sure you get there on time or preferably a few minutes early to discuss any loose ends with your advocate. Your testimony will be in the form of your answers to questions from your advocate and from the judge. Tell the truth and hope for the best. Good luck.

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      Andrea 5 years ago

      Hey Mr.Deeds I'm not very good with words like others on here so I'm going to try to give you as much info as I can.I have a phone hearing to go to and I know everything looks real bad and I dont know what to do or how to make the judge know I'm telling the truth.I called in back in sept 2011 to ask about reporting my work the lady told me if I'm not full time hired in dont report or I will lose my benifits I didn't understand her so I let my friend get on and she told him the same thing.Now its time to redo my claim and I'm being looked at for fraud because I didnt report income for three weeks.I just did what I was told now I might go to jail please help me I know I dont have a chance because so many people do this all the time and they are going to think I did it to even now I sick thinking about this I'm so confused.My other thing I wounder about is if I get one of the people that unemployment gives us to rep us do they talk for me?I know I will mess up if I talk for my self because I don't always know the right words or things to say.My last question is worst outcome being they say I have to pay back and go to jail would it be all 35 weeks or just the 3 weeks I didnt report.I do think I should have to pay back the three weeks dont get me wrong I thought that when I spoke to the lady but I trust that the reps wont give wrong info like this.Any help and info you can give me about this matter would mean so much thank you

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      Bobso I went back on my extinsion 5 years ago

      Hello MR.Deeds I had a few friends tell me your the go to guy for help with unemployment.Long story short I just got a letter that I have a hearing with M.Grant in 10 days.I guess my last employer filed and it skipped re determination and went right to a hearing.The thing I'm floored by is the claim they are protesting is not even the one I'm collecting on that claim was denied for not having made enough money so I went back to my extension.I have no Idea what I'm walking into or why this even happening can you tell me what happens in a hearing and what to expect what proof do I get together anything that will help please I'm so scared I have just 10 day to figure this out.

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Good luck.

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      londongirl 5 years ago

      thank you for your reply Ralph i appreciate it. we are doing that this week and i'll let you know how it goes.

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      All you have to say is that you request a hearing before an ALJ because you disagree with the determination. The ALJ hearings are "de novo" meaining the decision is based on evidence and testimony presented at the hearing. Make sure you get your appeal in on time and hope for a sympathetic judge. And continue to certify by calling MARVIN until your case is settled.

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      londongirl 5 years ago

      good day to you Ralph,

      my husband was unemployed for the whole of 2011 and the last four months of 2010. DMC fought his claim because he was fired, eventually he got his claim. at the time i got ill, we got evicted had to move. he also signed a waiver that said he was attending college. now because of our eviction , my surgery, moving our car going ka put he was unable to complete his study. for the whole of last year he looked for work, certifed got his check . then in september we recieved a letter asking us why he didnt complete. my husband didnt complete the form and evidence on time. however in December i sent it in explaining why it couldnt be sent on time ( ie we moved, papers were everywhere) our request was denied this week, now we have to pay 14 thousand dollars back. i'm going to ask for a redetermination, because no fraud was involved, but i'm not sure what exactly to say in the letter asking for a hearing with an ALJ. and how do i get the judge to even consider the case without him just throwing the case out, this is real hardship for us we are really struggling here. plus with this BS determination they take all your tax refund. help please.

      thanks for your reply

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Robert, my recommendation is that you file for unemployment compensation starting after your 4 weeks vacation pay ran out. Actually, if you received the vacation pay in one lump sum you are disqualified only for the week in which you received the check. Once you have filed for unemployment benefits you will be instructed to certify that you are unemployed and seeking work and report any earnings you received during the weeks for which you are certifying. The amount of your benefit will be adjusted by the amount of earnings you received during the certification period. It's very important that you follow the Agency's instructions to the letter. If you have a problem it would be worthwhile for you to go to the nearest unemployment agency "Problem Resolution Office" and discuss any questions or issues you have face-to-face with an agency representative. You probably will get better results that way than over the telephone. Here are the locations of the PRO offices.

      PRO Locations:

      Detroit - 3024 W. Grand Blvd., Suite L-385, Detroit, MI 48202

      Gaylord - 400 W. Main St., Suite 102, Gaylord, MI 49735

      Grand Rapids - 3391 Plainfield NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

      Lansing - 5015 S. Cedar St., Lansing, MI 48910

      Mt. Clemens (temporary) - Macomb County DHS, 21885 Dunham Rd., Suite 7, Clinton Twp., MI 48036

      Marquette - 2833 U.S. 41 West, Marquette, MI 49855

      Muskegon (temporary) - Muskegon County DHS, 2700 Baker St., Muskegon Heights, MI 49444

      Saginaw - 614 Johnson St., Saginaw, MI 48607

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      bosco1robert 5 years ago

      Mr. Deeds i hope you can help me because im very new to this and have a few questions i cant get a firm answer on. i have not filed for unemployment yet and was laid off late jan. after 32 yrs. in mich. i still had 4 wks vacation comming, and the owner hierd me to sorta be a caretaker on a 1099. its only like 3 hts a week. was this a bad thing to do on my part ? also do i have to sign up in a certain amount of time ? and if i sign up next week, how many weeks, with federal exts. would i be able to collect ? im over 57 and have a 401K i could tap into till im 62

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      1. Request a redetermination or a hearing before an administrative law judge within the 30-day time limit.

      2. Continue to certify by calling MARVIN in accordance with UIA procedures. Even if you prevail in your appeal you will not get benefits for any period for which you did not certify that you were unemployed and seeking work.

      3. Go to the nearest UIA "Problem Resolution Office and discuss your case face-to-face with a real, live human. I've heard that the people in the PROs are knowledgeable and helpful, particularly in complicated cases like yours. Here's a link to the UIA PRO site:

      http://www.michigan.gov/uia/0,1607,7-118--78925--,...

      PRO Locations:

      Detroit - 3024 W. Grand Blvd., Suite L-385, Detroit, MI 48202

      Gaylord - 400 W. Main St., Suite 102, Gaylord, MI 49735

      Grand Rapids - 3391 Plainfield NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

      Lansing - 5015 S. Cedar St., Lansing, MI 48910

      Mt. Clemens (temporary) - Macomb County DHS, 21885 Dunham Rd., Suite 7, Clinton Twp., MI 48036

      Marquette - 2833 U.S. 41 West, Marquette, MI 49855

      Muskegon (temporary) - Muskegon County DHS, 2700 Baker St., Muskegon Heights, MI 49444

      Saginaw - 614 Johnson St., Saginaw, MI 48607

      Sorry I'm not able to provide a better answer to your situation. Good luck!

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      Samara 5 years ago

      Hello Mr. Deeds I was told by a friend that you are a very helpful person for people that feel lost in the unemployment web. My story I'm sure seems odd but please try to help because I'm at a total loss. I had been on unemployment for a year then I was told I had to re apply so I did and everything went fine so I thought. During our call I told the agent that I had wages during the beginning of my claim which I did report and when she asked me what happened with that job I told her I was fired because they couldn't hold open my job while I went to a funeral. I got a letter in the mail very quick that my claim was approved because the employer validated what I said but since it was less money than what I was getting on my old claim we canceled it and I was to continue on my old claim. A week later I received a letter in the mail for possible fraud because during the time that I was let go I certified that I did not quit my job I did not accept any job offer and I did not get fired. Now here is where I'm stuck when I certified I was 100% honest I did not get fired from the temp service I was just told that the company that I was assigned to did not need my services but they would help me find other work when it came in. It was a complete case of miscommunication on my part to the rep that I spoke with but I did not know any other way to explain it to her because I didn't quit, there wasn't a lack of work ect so the only other way I could put it was I was let go of. What do I do they have to know I'm still employed with the temp service based of the letter they got back I'm at a total loss I can't sleep I'm scared to death because I don't know how to prove this to them. Please help thank you in advance for any information you can give me.

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      Joe 5 years ago

      Thank you!

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Yes. However, your employer may still have the right to protest your eligibility depending on the circumstances of your termination. Good luck.

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      Joe 5 years ago

      Ralph, Hello. I received my Unemployment Benefit Debit card. Does that mean I was approved?

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for letting us know the good news!

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      slimgramma 5 years ago

      Hi Mr. Deeds!

      I too wanted to let you know the outcome of MY appeal! Filed my first clain Dec 14th. Today, March 8th I finally won my appeal and received my back unemployment! I think I may just frame the letter from UIA! Thankyou so much for all of your help and support!

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      That's great news! Thanks for sharing.

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      agapegeart 5 years ago

      Hello again Mr. Deeds,

      Just wanted to give you the results of my unemployment benefits battle w/ my former employer. I am the claimant who was improperly classified as an independent contractor by my former employer and the UIA field audit determined that I was in fact an employee and am entitled to benefits under the law. It took over 7 months but finally late last week I received all my retroactive benefits--about $10k. In addition, I filed a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division and received a phone call today from a very nice man from that department informing me that my former employer essentially was tired of dealing with it all and she submitted a check for 3 year's worth of unpaid overtime--to the tune of about $8k.

      Just a word to all the claimants who follow your postings: Hang in there, keep certifying, know the law and all your rights under it and the UIA will eventually come through. Lots of hoops to jump through but never give up if you know you're in the right.

      I have yet to file my taxes but I intend to file an SS-8 this year and hopefully I'll be 3 for 3.

      Thanks for all your advice, Mr. Deeds. I finally feel vindicated and that the law really works.

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      You may wish to read the summaries of court decisions some of which deal with restitution linked here:

      http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/ham/mes/digest/mes_dig...

      Here's what the Unemployment Agency's Advocacy bulletin has to say about restitution:

      What the law says: This issue is covered by Section 62(a) of the Michigan Employment Security Act. The law says that if a claimant for unemployment benefits receives a benefit payment to which he or she is not entitled, the claimant must repay to the UA the improperly paid amount.

      The restitution, or repayment, may be paid to the Agency in cash, or it can be deducted from future benefit payments, but not more than 20% of any benefit payment can be used to pay back restitution...The restitution can also be collected by intercepting the claimant's state income tax refund.

      However, the UA cannot collect restitution more than three years after the improper payment unless fraud was involved in the improper payment unless fraud was involved in the improper payment, or the agency files a lawsuit within the three years, or the Agency issues a determination to the claimant within the three years notifying the claimant about the restitution.

      The law give the Agency authority to forgive restitution under certain circumstances, where to collect restitution would be contrary to equity and good conscience and the improper payment was not the fault of the claimant.

      What Agency Guidelines say: The Agency can forgive repayment or restitution when the incorrect payment was due to the Agency's in calculating the benefit payment; or when the error occurred because the employer failed to provide the Agency with requested information or provided incorrect information; or WHEN THE CLAIMANT HAS A LOW HOUSEHOLD INCOME AND REPAYING THE AMOUNT WOULD CAUSE THE CLAIMANT EXTREME FINANCIAL HARDSHIP....

      Proof at the hearing: the Agency would have to prove that benefits were overpaid. The claimant could deny the payments were overpayments, or could disagree with the Agency's refusal to forgive repayment (that is, could prove that the UA abused its discretion when it denied forgiveness of collection of restitution.)

      My understanding is that you could within the 30-day time limit appeal the Agency's decision not to forgive restitution. Further, my understanding is that the Agency does not garnish wages or bank accounts or attach liens to property in order to obtain restitution. You could argue that the error was the Agency's, not yours and that restitution would be a severe hardship on you and your family. I'll take a look at the court cases to see if there is anything helpful.

      Let us know the result. Good luck.

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      BLK 5 years ago

      Michigan

      Hi Mr. Deeds

      I have received benefits for the past 5 years and now the UIA has made a determination that I should not have been given benefits and must pay it all back. Reason is that I am the sole member of an LLC family business. When I first filed for benefits I talked to someone at UIA and told them this and they said I would receive less benefits because it was family business. Every new claim since I always marked family business when the question was asked. In the notice of determination they state "Your actions are considered to have been unintentional because there are no facts to establish that you intentionally withheld information to obtain benefits." also "Reason for overpayment does not come within the criteria for waiver." 1)The UIA originally determined that I was eligible. 2) MESA Sec. 62 States that the commission shall not recover improperly paid benefits more than 3 years after the date of receipt if fraud was not involved. 3) On the website Michigan.gov it states that "The law gives the UIA authority to forgive restitution under certain circumstances, where to collect restitution would be contrary to equity and good conscience (not sure what this means) and the improper payment was not the fault of the unemployed worker." 4) I do not have any money to repay what they are asking. 5) Notice of determination also states "If repayment will cause extraordinary hardship you may request a waiver due to financial status. What is considered an extraordinary hardship? Based on the above information what should be included in my request for redetermination and is there any possibility of getting some or all waived.

      Thanks!

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      My understanding is that the UIA will take 20% of any future unemployment benefits for which you may become eligible and they will grab any Michigan income tax refunds for which you may become eligible. As you probably know by now they will try to get you to agree to an "easy payment plan." I haven't heard of them turning claimants in your situation over to a bill collector. It would be unwise, in my opinion, for you to withdraw any funds you may have in a 401k or IRA in order to repay the UIA. I understand that under Governor Snyder the UIA is following the example of the NY Banksters and charging interest on unpaid restitution amounts.

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      kenn 5 years ago

      Hello,

      I have been dealing with UIA overpayment issues for two years now, they ruled that I did nothing fraudulent but they want me to pay them back, I cannot because I do not make enough money, wht will the UIA do if I cannot pay it back?

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      Jo 5 years ago

      Thanks, Ralph. I won't be going through with the appeal.

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Jo, It doesn't cost anything to appeal your case to an Administrative Law Judge. The agency will pay for an advocate to assist you. However, the law isn't kind to people who resign. In brief, it says that a reasonable person will find another job before quitting the one they have UNLESS there is a compelling reason attributable to the employer which would cause a reasonable person to resign AND the employee complained about the issue and gave the employer an opportunity to correct the problem. Being asked to do something dishonest should be found by a judge to be "good cause attributable to the employer" for quitting depending on the facts of the situation, i.e., how egregious the dishonesty was. Could be a gray area. On the other hand there is considerable awareness these days about shoddy practices in the banking and mortgage industry. The burden will be on you to convince the judge that the practices you encountered were clearly dishonest and or illegal.

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      Jo 5 years ago

      LST, ALJ is "Administrative Law Judge".

      Ralph, I have a question similar to K. Smith's; I voluntarily quit my position because there were ethical concerns at my Michigan-based firm (financial firm basically stealing money). I was denied benefits, protested, and received an affirmation of the initial determination.

      I'm terrified of trying to make a case in front of a judge, as I've never been in court before, and I'm actually starting a new job at the end of the month. I'm not sure whether I should even bother with an appeal. Should I?

      Thank you.

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      ALJ=Administative Law Judge. Okay, I understand now. You are trying to decide whether to take your case to the Appellate Commission or directly to a Circuit Court. Well, most people go to the Appellate Commission (formerly the Board of Review) before going to the Circuit Court. Most people hire a lawyer to take their case to the circuit court although the clerk of the court can explain the procedures for representing yourself (pro se). Which would offer the best chance might depend on how much sympathy the circuit court judge has for someone in your situation. If you think you might get a sympathetic judge it might be easier in court to get a favorable decision without taking it to the Appellate Commission, losing, and then having to get the circuit court to reverse the Appellate Commission's decision.

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      LST 5 years ago

      Yes I already did that. I did that last month. What is an ALJ hearing?

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      It's hard for me to answer your question based on what you've told me. Ordinarily, you have to have a hearing before an administrative law judge before appealing to the Appellate Commission in Lansing. Ordinarily there is a "determination," a "redetermination," an ALJ hearing, and then an appeal to the Appellate Commission. I would think it would be to your advantage to put your case on the record before an Administrative Law Judge. Maybe you've already done that??

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      LST 5 years ago

      Hello Mr. Deeds

      My case is up for redetermination for the second or third time, I've lost count. They have given me an option for the board of review to look at my case or the judge. My question to you is which one should I choose? Which one would be in my best interest?

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      I'm not sure of the answer, but I'm pretty sure you should start receiving benefits for any week for which you certified that you were unemployed and seeking work. You could take your paper work to one of the agency's Problem Resolutions Offices and talk face-to-face with a live human being. Unless there is an issue between you and your former employer, over the circumstances of your termination, i.e., if your employer acknowledges that you were laid off, you should receive benefits for the entire period since you were laid off, provided you continued to certify by calling MARVIN in accordance with agency procedures.

      Here's a list of the Problem Resolution Offices:

      PRO Locations:

      Detroit - 3024 W. Grand Blvd., Suite L-385, Detroit, MI 48202

      Gaylord - 400 W. Main St., Suite 102, Gaylord, MI 49735

      Grand Rapids - 3391 Plainfield NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

      Lansing - 5015 S. Cedar St., Lansing, MI 48910

      Mt. Clemens (temporary) - Macomb County DHS, 21885 Dunham Rd., Suite 7, Clinton Twp., MI 48036

      Marquette - 2833 U.S. 41 West, Marquette, MI 49855

      Muskegon (temporary) - Muskegon County DHS, 2700 Baker St., Muskegon Heights, MI 49444

      Saginaw - 614 Johnson St., Saginaw, MI 48607

      If you need help, please call one of our toll-free hotlines:

      UNEMPLOYED WORKERS WITH QUESTIONS - If you are an unemployed worker with questions, please call one of our toll-free hotlines during the hours below:

      Claims line, 1-866-500-0017

      8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays

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      agapegeart 5 years ago

      Hi Mr. Deeds,

      Not sure if you remember me. My case involved misclassification by my former employer who claimed I was an independent contractor. I had the ALJ hearing at which time the judge remanded my case back to the UIA for a field audit to clarify my status.

      Today I received a determination from the UIA which states that "Based on a field audit review, the Agency concludes that the services performed by (My Name) ARE covered 'employment' as defined under Section 42 (5) of the MES Act and remuneration earned in payment for the employment is wages under Section 44 (1) of the MES Act."

      Of course there is the Right to Protest paragraph at the end of the letter, but I don't expect the outcome to be any different if she does protest. And yes, I have been certifying with MARVIN all along.

      I called the number on the letter and was told that I would be contacted by the benefits department.

      My question to you is, what should I expect to have happen next? Given that the former employer never bothered to pay unemployment taxes, will I start receiving benefits and the state will bill her for the unpaid amount or what? It's been seven long months with no income and the bank is foreclosing on my home. I'd like to be able to tell them that I will be getting some relief from UIA in the near future in order to avert this. At the ALJ hearing my advocate told me I was "screwed" because the former employer failed to pay unemployment taxes. Again, what should I expect?

      Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      1. Yes, your ex-employee's collecting benefits will affect your unemployment insurance tax rate. I'm not sure how this is calculated, but the effect is likely to be significant, depending on how long she collects benefits.

      2, It doesn't cost anything for you to request a redetermination and, if you have already received a redetermination, it doesn't cost anything to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. The UIA will provide an advocate to assist you in preparing for the hearing and represent you before the ALJ. It sounds to me as if the ALJ's decision will depend on whose testimony he finds more credible.

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      Newbie 5 years ago

      Hello Mr. Deeds

      I was pleased to find your blog and info, especially that you were in michigan where I am writing from.

      I am a new employer 3yrs now, with no firings or layoffs. We had a model employe who felt her christmas bonus of $175 was an insult and was expecting $500. She did put in her verbal resignation one day before Christmas eve (our last day for the year) as we are a small business with 2 part time employees, this was a shock and a blow to us. My wife who runs the day to day of the business pleaded with the employee to give her a chance to figure something out " emotional based I admit". After she explained what happended to me, I was not so emotional about this as I have experience in manging people. After we had time to think about this we decided this was an attempt to hold us hostage for more money and we were not going to play this game.

      The employee did work the last day of the year for us. We we returned to work for the new year my wife accepted here resignation and ties were then severed.

      The employee claimed she was fired. We appealed and explained the above. The determination was there was conflicting info but the determination was she was fired an eligible for benefits.

      1st I would like to know does one employee receiving benefits affect my Tax rate

      2nd Is it worth fighting this for the principal of she resigned and wasnt fired.

      Thanks

      Newbie

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Well, most judges will say that an employer is entitled to expect its employees to be at work on time for their scheduled work, including reasonable amounts of overtime unless they have compelling reasons for being absent or late--illness of self or other family member, automobile accidents, attendance at a funeral of a close relative, after requesting to be excused. The burden of proving misconduct is ordinarily on the employer, except it shifts to the employee when he or she has been absent or late frequently. In the case above the employee was absent due to being in jail. In deciding his case the judge is likely to consider his previous attendance record. If he had a good attendance record he has a good chance of getting a decision in his favor, if not his chances are less favorable. At least that's my experience.

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      slimgramma 5 years ago

      Hi again Ralph:)

      I was just reading your last posts and I caught something I wasn't aware of. At the end of your comment to Ben, you wrote that:

      The judges decision would likely be influenced by your overall attendance, disciplinary and employment record aside from the incarceration incident.

      I have nothing bad on my record except the absence issues which I think are nuts. But my question is why would any past issues come into the whole thing when we were fired for absences? And just as an example, if you were hired to work 40 hrs per week at 52 weeks per year and you end up working 95-100 hours over that how can they consider you to be absent too many times? Just calculating..:) Still just waiting for my re-determination..

    • Ralph Deeds profile image
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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      The answer depends on how you define the "whole appeal process." Here are the steps-

      1. Apply for benefits

      2. Determination--one month or less (appeal within 30 days)

      3. Re-determination --one month or less, appeal within 30 days

      4. Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge--the wait for a hearing to be scheduled can take from 1-2 months. The judges issue a written decision within two weeks, appeal within 30 days to Appellate Commission.

      5. Depending on the backlog and the issues in the case the Commission may take a month to several months to issue a decision.

      Beyond the above cases may be appealed to a circuit court, to an appellate courts, to the Michigan Supreme Court and to federal appeals courts all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Few cases go beyond the appellate commission or circuit courts.)

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      Ben 5 years ago

      How long does the whole appeal process usually take? I really need the money to pay bills.

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Predicting the outcome of an appeal is impossible without reading the case file and knowing all the facts. However, in my opinion, an appeal would definitely be in your interest. Here is a Michigan case that supports your eligibility:

      MISCONDUCT DISCHARGE, Absence without notice, Incarceration

      CITE AS: Jones v Hackley Hospital, No. 83-17596 AE, Muskegon Circuit Court (October 2, 1984).

      Appeal pending: No

      Claimant: Willie Jones, Jr.

      Employer: Hackley Hospital

      Docket No: B82 13563 RO1 86935W

      CIRCUIT COURT HOLDING: Inability to get to work because of involuntary incarceration does not constitute wilful or wanton misconduct connected with the work.

      FACTS: The claimant worked for the employer as a janitor. He was discharged after being absent for three consecutive days without notice to the employer. The claimant was under the constraints of a work release program from the County Jail. His work release privileges were revoked as a result of a complaint filed by his wife. The revocation of the work release privileges prevented the claimant from reporting to work.

      DECISION: The claimant is not disqualified for misconduct discharge.

      RATIONALE: "To hold that plaintiff's [claimant's] involuntary incarceration constituted misconduct connected with his employment would result in this court agreeing that wilfulness was present, where subject was held against his will, an interesting but illogical proposition. It is only reasonable to conclude that the word 'connected' as used in the legislative act, was intended to make a distinction between misconduct with reference to an individual's private life and misconduct arising during and related to his employment."

      The claimant lost his work release privileges under circumstances which might have been completely beyond his control. "The reason behind the revocation of his work release did not have the slightest connection with his employment."

      6/91

      Moreover, most judges in Michigan don't put a lot of credence for determining eligibilty for benefits in automatic point systems which don't take into account why an employee is absent or tardy. Absences, per se, aren't misconduct. To establish misconduct an employer must take into account the reasons for absence. Also, the judge's decision would likely be influenced by your overall attendance, disciplinary and employment record aside from the incarceration incident.

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      Ben 5 years ago

      I recently lost my job due to absenteeism. We have the point system at my previous job and I missed too many consecutive days which pushed me over the 8 point termination limit. The reason I was absent and caused me to point out was because I was in jail. I made every effort not to lose my job. I even used my phone call to call off work. My missing work was outside of my control but I still got denied for unemployment. Should I appeal? What do you think about this?

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      Ralph Deeds 5 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Provide any medical evidence (doctor's statements or any other evidence) to support your reason for quitting. Tell the truth about why you neglected to report the job and why you quit. The basic rule on quitting is that if you quit a job without a good reason attributable to the employer and without discussing the issue with the employer and giving him the opportunity to respond you are not eligible for unemployment compensation. The judge will ask you whether or not you discussed with your employer your reaction to the chemicals or not. If you didn't discuss this with your employer you are likely to be disqualified from benefits.

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      giantonts 5 years ago

      Hi Ralph

      I stumbled upon this page after trying to find an answer to my question,never did so i am hoping you can be of great assistance. I worked at job for a month and left due to the chemicals i was working with bothered my stomach(health issues) and one month later started collecting unemployment , i got a letter in the mail stating that i failed to report that job, which is true ,must have slipped my mind. They now want a letter stating why "i quit" and "why i failed to report that job". The man i spoke to said that he has 50 guidelines in which he has to follow and if my reason fall under his guidelines the i get a slap on the wrist and to make sure it doesn't happen again.I would really appreciate your assistance as to an idea of what i should put that would fall under the guidelines as to why i failed to report?

      Thank you

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      Tracy 5 years ago

      Thank you for your advice, much appreciated.

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      Slava 5 years ago

      Thanks.