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New unemployment head balances paying claims, stopping fraud

Posted at 1:26 PM, Dec 02, 2020

Michigan’s acting unemployment director has told lawmakers her office is trying to balance between quickly paying benefits to jobless workers and preventing fraud, saying impostor claims are rampant in a backlog of 90,000-plus cases.

Liza Estlund Olson took over the Unemployment Insurance Agency less than a month ago after the previous chief, Steve Gray, fell out of favor with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

The agency last week released an independent report showing how — faced with an unprecedented deluge of claims during the coronavirus lockdown last spring — it made policy, technological and organizational changes that increased exposure to fraud.