Fraud Still a Problem in Extended Unemployment Benefit Programs

January 9, 2014

As Congress debates extending long-term unemployment benefits for some 1.3 million Americans, lost in the heated rhetoric are some very important numbers for taxpayers, says Watchdog.org.

  • States recorded some $7.7 billion dollars in improper unemployment insurance payments in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Estimated improper payments run as high as 18.16 percent in Nebraska.
  • Louisiana posted the highest estimated fraud rate in the nation last year, at more than 7 percent.
  • In Wisconsin, estimated improper payments totaled $92,644,556, through June 30.

The debate in Washington, D.C., is over the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which provides benefits to individuals who have exhausted regular state benefits. In Wisconsin, nearly 5,600 claimants received fraudulent federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation overpayments totaling $10.5 million between Jan. 1, 2013 and Nov. 30, 2013.

A look at some other states:

  • Illinois: 12.2 percent estimated improper unemployment insurance payment rate, totaling an estimated $266.38 million. Estimated fraud rate was 1.8 percent.
  • Michigan: 6.5 percent improper unemployment insurance payment rate, totaling $75.69 million. Fraud rate of 2.25 percent.
  • Iowa: 10.3 percent improper unemployment insurance payment rate, totaling $44.98 million. Fraud rate, 1.6 percent.
  • Minnesota: 4 percent improper unemployment insurance payment rate, totaling $34.96 million. Fraud rate, 1.9 percent.

Source: M.D. Kittle, "Fraud Still a Problem in Extended Unemployment Benefit Programs," Watchdog.org, January 8, 2014.

 

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