Michigan unemployment agency adds new staff to process claims, catch fraud

Ariana Taylor
The Detroit News

In an effort to improve responses to claims and boost fraud prevention, Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency announced Tuesday that more people will either be added to the staff or promoted.

Four additional people were added to leadership teams at UIA to identify fraudulent unemployment claims and to continue paying out benefits to those on hold. 

As of mid-June, UIA said it validated 41% of the accounts flagged for fraud. Around 340,000 active unemployment claims were frozen for potential fraudulent activity and required identity verification. 

According to the UIA, over 2.2 million people have applied for benefits since March 15, with over $14.3 billion paid to 94.5% of them. The flagged accounts make up 15% of the 2.2 million. 

“Each of these team members is an important addition to the agency,” UIA Director Steve Gray said in a statement. “Their leadership will be a driving force as we continue to improve customer service, make efficient use of resources and protect Michiganders from unemployment fraud.”

 UIA also appointed Jeffrey Frost, an owner of a security and investigative firm and a part-time faculty member at Michigan State University, as a special fraud advisor. Frost will work to clear legitimate claim accounts as well as identify, locate, and prosecute those suspected of unemployment fraud by serving on Attorney General Dana Nessel’s unemployment insurance fraud task force. 

Others added to UIA leadership teams include, Stephanie Glidden who was promoted to UIA Chief of Staff; Evan Anderson who was promoted to Special Advisor on Payment Operations and Digital Systems; and Debbie Ciccone who was promoted to Interim UIA Finance Administrator.