Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome to my latest e-newsletter! It continues to be a privilege to represent Livonia, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community in Lansing. I encourage you to stay up to date on what’s going on in Lansing and continue to let me know about the issues that matter to you.
To see what we’ve been voting on over the last week, please click here. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to my office at (517) 373-3920 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Infrastructure Listening Tour
I want to extend a special thank you to the folks who came out to my infrastructure listening tour session last week. We had a great discussion about the challenges our county is facing and what potential solutions look like going forward. My colleagues and I remain committed to supporting legislation that would make monumental investments in our state’s infrastructure.
Unemployment Insurance Agency Update
The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) has paused new wage garnishments and intercepts of state of Michigan tax refunds in about 398,000 cases where workers collected federal unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic until at least May 7. At this time, UIA is working to complete its review of claimant accounts that may qualify for overpayment waivers.
The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) granted the temporary pause after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer intervened seeking legal authority from USDOL and Congress to hold state collections until cases could be reviewed and/or waivers issued so that eligible Michiganders are not negatively affected for following the established rules when they applied for benefits.
The collections pause involves cases where workers were told they must pay back the benefits they received. About 385,000 of the total cases include overpayments under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.
The pause applies to overpayments of federal benefits received before Sept. 4, 2021, when the pandemic unemployment benefits programs under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and its extensions ended. Besides PUA, the CARES ACT programs included Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Mixed Earnings Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) and federal reimbursement for the first week of benefits.
During the pause, UIA will not issue new wage garnishments or intercept state of Michigan tax refunds. The pause does not stop collections activities such as existing wage garnishments, intercepting federal tax returns, deducting a percentage from current unemployment benefit payments, or recovering overpayments for other states. Collections of overpayments made before the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 will not be paused.
The pause will allow UIA to complete its review of claims, based on USDOL guidance, regarding overpayment waivers for those who received federal pandemic assistance. A decision on who qualifies for an overpayment waiver is pending while UIA tests its system processes over the next weeks to identify potential recipients. Claimants will be notified by letter and through their MIWAM accounts if they are granted an overpayment waiver.
If UIA determines that a worker’s overpayment qualifies for a waiver, any money collected so far on the overpayment will be refunded or applied against other outstanding debts. If a waiver does not apply, the pause will be lifted, and collections will resume.
I hope you can join me for one of my upcoming in-person and virtual coffee hours! I look forward to having an informal conversation with you about the issues families face in our community. The in-person coffee hour will be held at Coffee + Cream here in Livonia. You can join the livestream for my virtual coffee hours on my Facebook page. Please be sure to note that our May in-person coffee hour will be held on a Wednesday evening instead of Sunday afternoon.
Virtual: Monday, April 18, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
In-person: Wednesday, May 4, from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Never hesitate to reach out to me or my staff if you have any questions or concerns!
19th House District