(CBS DETROIT) — The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency announced Wednesday it will not require more than 55,000 claimants to pay back $431 million in overpayments of federal pandemic benefits.

In addition, $11 million will be refunded to claimants who paid back their benefits overpayment, or it will be applied to any outstanding debt they may have.

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Claimants were notified through their Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) accounts. Letters will also be mailed to confirm the MiWAM notification.

“This is wonderful news for those who lost their job through no fault of their own,” UIA Director Julia Dale said in a statement. “The federal jobless assistance programs were a critical lifeline for many Michiganders affected by the global pandemic and our action today means they will be able to continue to provide for their families without the fear of having to pay back benefits awarded through agency error.”

The waivers apply to benefits received before Sept. 4, 2021.

To date, UIA waived more than $4.3 billion in overpayment debt for more than 400,000 claimants.

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“This is a huge weight lifted off so many Michiganders’ shoulders,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “No Michigander who did the right thing when applying for benefits should be required to pay anything back resulting from errors at the federal level. At every turn, I will stand up and fight on behalf of Michiganders to make sure they get what they were promised. Thanks to these waivers that we fought for and secured Michiganders will get to keep their hard-earned money.”

Whitmer request the Department of Labor to expand the eligibility for waivers for Michigan workers, and Dale advocated for waivers

The request for expansion was granted in February.

The waivers are not applied to claims in which UIA determined fraud was involved. The UIA will continue to pursue restitution of any stolen benefits.

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