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The Flint Journal “Ask the Attorney” Column

Q. I was injured at work, worked light duty for a month, was then laid off and told to file for unemployment. I did that–but now the Michigan Unemployment Agency has accused me of fraud, demanded that I repay benefits, and pay three times the amount in penalties. What can I do? (May 2015)

A. Michigan’s Workers Compensation law actually requires people in your situation to file for unemployment as part of filing for workers’ compensation. Under Republican Governor Rick Snyder though, the State of Michigan has been falsely accusing many more people of fraud where no fraud exists. We are learning that the State has been sending out computer-generated letters accusing employees of unemployment fraud without any basis in fact. A lawsuit against the Administration was recently filed by the UAW and several law firms in federal court for the State’s “robo-adjudications” and false accusations of fraud. Workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation are intended to be important safety nets that assist workers. The Snyder Administration should not be intimidating workers with false allegations of fraud that deter people from obtaining the benefits they need, and are entitled to receive. If you need help with this, or with securing any other benefits, you can contact our office for further assistance and direction.

–Attorney Robert J. MacDonald

2022 Postscript:  Attorneys successfully sued the State of Michigan for falsely accusing unemployed people of unemployment fraud. If you were falsely accused of fraud, you may have a right to recover if you exercise your rights in a timely manner. Unfortunately, problems persist at the Unemployment Insurance Agency, and more litigation is pending.