Lawmaker threatens to subpoena the unemployment agency amid unanswered questions

From WZZM13: Lawmaker threatens to subpoena the unemployment agency amid unanswered questions

MICHIGAN, USA — The COVID-19 pandemic has led to historic numbers of unemployment. Hundreds of thousands of Michiganders have applied for unemployment, but many are facing issues getting their money.

Applicants claimed to have issues getting through to the website, getting locked out of their accounts and being wrongfully flagged for fraud, among other situations.

Now lawmakers, like representative Matt Hall who oversees Michigan’s 63 district, are demanding answers.

“If we don’t get answers, eventually I’m going to have to subpoena them, and we’re going to force them to answer the questions for the people of Michigan,” Hall said, adding that he hopes it doesn’t come to legal force

Hall spoke with Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) director, Steve Gray in early to mid-May about the issues in the UIA’s system.

“He told us there were 134,000 people across Michigan who have not received any benefits. A week later, I brought in his boss in, and he told us there were 124,000. That was on May 21,” Hall recalled.

Hall says since the meeting, the UIA office won’t release more numbers or information regarding unemployment benefits status. 13 ON YOUR SIDE reached out to Michigan’s Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, which oversees the UIA, for an update but was told no one was available for an interview.

“We need to know that answer so that we as legislators and also the public can track whether this is getting better or worse,” Hall said.

Hall said he plans to continue questioning the organization over its decision to decline aid from outside organizations like Quicken Loans. He said he feels people need answers behind their delays.

“We know of people that are waiting for 6, or 8 or 10 weeks, still haven’t gotten a call back… They feel their voices aren’t being heard,” he said. “People who have had to take out loans, people who have had to go on food stamps, just because they can’t get these benefits that they have earned through no fault of their own.”

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