Michigan paid $8.5B in fraudulent pandemic jobless claims

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan likely paid about $8.5 billion in fraudulent or improper jobless benefits over a 19-month period during the coronavirus pandemic, far more than previously estimated, according to a report released by the state’s unemployment agency.

The figure reported Wednesday comes more than a year after the agency expected fraud losses in the "hundreds of millions" of dollars Auditors have since reported that the agency improperly paid $3.9 billion to claimants who were later deemed ineligible.

New Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Julia Dale says she is outraged and frustrated, but progress is being made.

The fraud rate is way down compared to early in the pandemic.