West Michigan business owner worried about possible unemployment fraud


GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – A western Michigan business owner said the state unemployment agency is no longer sending him verification forms.

He thinks it could lead to fraud and more problems down the line.

Brian Kloet laid off 54 employees at seven Great Clips locations on March 21st. He said it was the most difficult day in his 40-year career.

But now there might be more possible problems with the UIA.

“When employees receive benefits, they are then taken out of our account, so there has to be some sort of audit and that’s what it’s for,” Kloet said.

He talks about the verification form sent by the UIA which shows who has applied for unemployment in his company and how much they have received.

Without it, he doesn’t know who is filing and whether their claim is even legitimate.

“So without that detail, we have no idea,” Kloet said. “It is possible that a former employee went to work for someone else and if we do not communicate with him he may not be on the list so we would have no idea. he is available to come back or not. “

The last time he received a letter was on April 25. Now he says the UIA has transferred its claims to a government account.

“Unless we get these reports now,” he said, “we have no way of telling whether this employee has or hasn’t received any benefits.”

Some people may want to continue to receive benefits instead of returning.

The federal government adds an additional $ 600 per week to claims. So in some cases people earn more by not working.

But if their job was offered to them, they would probably no longer be eligible for unemployment.

“I understand it’s not a priority,” Kloet said, “but for small business owners who are considering an opening date, our priority is really to get them out of unemployment.”

State Representative Matt Hall said it was the first time he had heard of the issue.

“How does the employer know that he must file a dispute if he does not receive these notices? I think you really stumbled upon something very important here, so thank you for that.

He says if people file falsely, it will deplete the state’s unemployment trust fund and result in higher taxes for Michigan businesses.

“We need that part of the system intact because we want to make sure that these benefits go to the people who earned them and need them and not to the people who are not eligible,” Hall said.

It’s up to employers like Brian to challenge a misrepresentation. Without the advice, he cannot do it.

“I’ve worked really hard to make sure my account is only billed for legitimate claims,” Kloet said.

Brian says he also has four employees who still have not been paid at all for unemployment.

While their industry awaits a response on the reopening date.

I contacted the UIA about this story, but got no response.


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