07. Eligibility - Able & Available

Kyles v A One Dentures, P.C. – 7.40

Kyles v A One Dentures, P.C.

Digest No. 7.40

Section 421.28

Cite as: Kyles v A One Dentures, P.C., unpublished opinion of the Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission, issued November 21, 2011 (Docket No.: B 2010-28689-RMI-220443W).

Court: MCAC

Appeal pending: No

Claimant: Ginay Y. Josey Kyles

Employer: One Dentures, P.C.

Date of decision: November 21, 2011

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HOLDING: The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission held that the mere fact that the claimant had an underlying medical condition, COPD, did not make her unable or unavilable to work where the evidence showed that she was laid-off due to lack of work and not her inability to work. However, the claimant was no longer able and available to work once she applied for Social Security disability benefits.

FACTS: The ALJ found the Claimant ineligible for benefits beginning February 4, 2010, based on the record that established the Claimant experienced complications with Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease (COPD). However, the Commission noted that the facts provided that the claimant was seeking work, had transportation, had no care-giving duties, and had had COPD for years. Once claimant filed for Social Security disability benefits, however, the Commission deemed her ineligible for benefits due to lack of ability and availability to work.

DECISION: The Commission modified the ALJ order and found Claimant ineligible for benefits only once she applied for Social Security disability benefits.

RATIONALE: The ALJ’s erred in finding that Claimant was not able and available to perform suitable full-time work of a character which the Claimant was qualified to perform by past experience or training under Section 421.28(1)(c) based soloely on the record of Claimant’s medical condition. The Claimant was laid off due to lack of work—not due to a medical condition. The record offered no basis for the ALJ to find ineligibility as of February 4, 2010. The record, however, did offer such basis as of February 23, 2010, when the claimant applied for Social Security disability benefits.

Furthermore, it was beyond the authority of the ALJ to decide eligibility prospectively, as eligibility questions, like availability and seeking work, must be considered on a week-by-week basis. Therefore, the ALJ could find only that the claimant was ineligible for benefits beginning the week of the administrative hearing, which was held on February 9, 2011.

Digest author: Toni Suh, Michigan Law, Class of 2020
Digest updated: January 29, 2021

18. Restitution, Waiver, Fraud

Olivarez v Unemployment Insurance Agency – 18.16

Olivarez v Unemployment Insurance Agency
Digest No. 18.16

Section 62 & Section 54

Cite as: Olivarez v Unemployment Insurance Agency, unpublished opinion of the Saginaw County Circuit Court, issued November 17, 2008 (Docket No. 08-000366-AE-3).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: William Olivarez
Employer: Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency
Date of decision: November 17, 2008

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HOLDING: The court reversed the fraud decision because there was not competent, material, and substantial evidence to support it.

FACTS: Claimant  worked for the Agency and applied for benefits while on long term disability. The Agency ordered restitution and Claimant won at the ALJ hearing but lost at MCAC.

MCAC held that there was fraud because Claimant collected while on long term disability; he knew there was an issue about whether he could do so; an employee of the disability insurance company told him this was alright; and Claimant should have known to go to Agency with questions about eligibility.

DECISION: Claimant is ineligible for benefits. The Agency did not provide sufficient evidence for fraud.

RATIONALE: On eligibility, there was a doctor’s note that said Claimant could not do any work at all. This was competent, material, and substantial evidence and the court affirmed this decision.

Regarding fraud, there was not sufficient evidence to “support a finding of wrongful, quasi-criminal behavior.” The court went on to say: “Fraud, while easily claimed, is not lightly proven.” Citing Mallery v Van Hoeven, 332 Mich 561, 568; (1952). Fraud must be established by evidence. This was a “skimpy record” and does not “support a finding of serious wrongdoing, even under the relatively light standard of substantial evidence.”

Digest author: Benjamin Tigay, Michigan Law, Class of 2018
Digest updated: December 1, 2017

07. Eligibility - Able & Available

Woodall Industries Inc. v. Tracy – 7.38

Woodall Industries Inc. v. Tracy
Digest No. 7.38

Section 421.28

Cite as: Woodall Industries Inc. v. Tracy, unpublished opinion of the Oakland County Circuit Court, issued Sept. 17, 1941 (Docket No. 26150).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Marie Tracy
Employer: Woodall Industries, Inc.
Date of decision: September 17, 1941

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HOLDING: The requirement that a claimant be “able to work and available for work” includes the ability to procure transportation to the workplace.

FACTS: Claimant lived twenty-two miles from her place of employment.  Claimant quit voluntarily because she lost access to transportation to the place of employment.  The Claimant re-acquired transportation approximately four months later.  Claimant was denied benefits for the period of time when she was without transportation.

DECISION: As a matter of fact and law, claimant was not “able to work and available to work” during the period when she had no means of transportation.  Claimant was eligible for benefits from the time when she re-acquired transportation that allowed her to travel to her place of employment.

RATIONALE: Eligibility for benefits depends on the ability to travel to the place of employment.*

Digest Author: James Mestichelli, Michigan Law, Class of 2017
Digest Updated: 3/27/2016

*The court used 421.28(c), but that language seems to have been amended. That is why the statutory section cited above is just 421.28.