The Department of Labor on Wednesday announced that it will award $191 million to States to provide “unemployment insurance program integrity and technology infrastructure systems” amid reports that the agency spent about $19 billion on payments made in error over the past three years.
“I was pleased to join Vice President [Joe] Biden today in announcing efforts to reduce government waste, fraud and abuse,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis in a press release. “We owe it to the American people, especially those who rely on unemployment insurance as a safety net, to be responsible stewards. This funding will help ensure state UI programs have integrity and run efficiently.”
The Federal program monitored by agencies on a State-by-State basis are expected to come under more scrutiny now than ever, though Solis said that there will be no real expansion in benefit denial, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Improper payments usually occur when recipients claim benefits even though they have returned to work, employers or their administrators don’t submit timely or accurate information about worker separations, or recipients don’t correctly register with a State’s unemployment agency.
According to The Journal, Indiana had the highest error rate, with improper payments accounting for more than 43 percent of the total amount paid. The Labor Department will also target Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, Washington, Louisiana and Arizona in particular for their high error rates.