New unemployment head balances paying claims, stopping fraud

Posted at 1:26 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 13:26:25-05

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.