A Michigan government agency wrongly accused individuals in at least 20,000 cases of fraudulently seeking unemployment payments, according to a review by the state.
The review released this week found that an automated system had erroneously accused claimants in 93% of cases – a rate that stunned even lawyers suing the state over the computer system and faulty fraud claims.
“It’s literally balancing the books on the backs of Michigan’s poorest and jobless,” attorney David Blanchard, who is pursuing a class action in federal court on behalf of several claimants, told the Guardian on Friday.
The Michigan unemployment insurance agency (UIA) reviewed 22,427 cases in which an automated computer system determined a claimant had committed insurance fraud, after federal officials, including the Michigan congressman Sander Levin, raised concerns with the system.
The review found that the overwhelming majority of claims over a two-year period between October 2013 and August 2015 were in error.